A whopping 62 percent of drivers between the ages of 18 and 34 said in a recent survey that they are either very confident or somewhat confident in their ability to safely text while driving. At the same time, 64 percent acknowledged that texting or looking at a phone is the most common cause of distracted driving accidents.
Luckily, the percentage of those who were confident in their texting-and-driving skills was lower among drivers generally -- but not by nearly enough. Thirty-four percent of over 1,000 insured drivers surveyed said they were either very or somewhat confident.
Nevertheless, 65 percent of drivers surveyed knew that phone-related distractions are the most common cause of motor vehicle accidents. Eighty-three percent of survey respondents said that texting while driving ought to be a primary offense, meaning that the cops could pull people over for that reason alone.
The survey was an online poll performed by Progressive Insurance. They asked around 1,000 people about their attitudes toward texting, phone use and other distractions behind the wheel. The respondents were insured drivers in the general insurance market, not Progressive customers.
Here are some of the other distractions identified in the survey, along with what percentage of the respondents thought they were safe to do while driving:
- Listening to music - 43 percent
- Using a map app at a stoplight - 37 percent
- Using a map while driving - 35 percent
- Making a phone call - 25 percent
Using a virtual assistant to search for a phone contact - 19 percent
The most striking result of this survey is that younger drivers are so much more confident in their ability to text and drive. Could they be right?
No, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In fact, after fatal accidents, teens were the group most likely to be identified as having been distracted.
In 2015, NHTSA says, 3,477 people died in distracted driving accidents and another 391,000 were injured.
Don't take the chance that your confidence outstrips your actual ability to drive distracted. Commit to never using your phone behind the wheel -- and make sure your kids commit, too.