U.S. Motorists are the Worst Offenders of Texting While Driving

There's a good chance you've seen a fellow motorist drifting over into a neighboring lane, only to later discover he or she is texting while driving 3,500 pounds of steel and glass (as a point of reference, a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco weighs 3,650 pounds). It's an all-too familiar sight, and unfortunately, mobile device use while driving is most common in the U.S.

That's according to a new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC researchers analyzed data from the 2011 EuroPNStyles and HealthStyles surveys and found that 69 percent of U.S. drivers talked on their cell phone while driving within 30 days before they were surveyed, versus 21 percent of drivers in the U.K. It also found that nearly a third—31 percent—of drivers in the U.S. had read or sent text messages or emails while driving, versus 15 percent of drivers in Spain.

Cell Phone and Key
Image Source: CDC

"Everyone, of every age and generation, has the ability to make a decision to drive distraction-free," said Linda C. Degutis, Dr.P.H., M.S.N., director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. "It’s especially risky for young, inexperienced drivers—who are already extremely vulnerable to crashes—to be distracted when they are behind the wheel. Answering a call or reading a text is never worth a loss of life."

A higher percentage of 18-34 year-old men and women reported reading or sending texts/emails while driving than those ages 45-64. There were no significant differences between men and women in terms of cell phone use or texting, CDC said.

Scary stuff. It's so scary that New Jersey went so far as to outlaw texting while walking.