TEXTING AND DRIVING: Survey says adults more at fault than teens - KMSP-TV

TEXTING AND DRIVING: Survey finds adults more at fault than teens

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Although most parents would agree that setting a good example for their children is crucial, a recent survey conducted by AT&T found that adults are texting behind the wheel more than teens are.

According to the numbers AT&T shared on Thursday, 49 percent of the 1,011 adults surveyed admit they text and drive -- and that has safe driving advocates urging motorists to break that bad habit once more.

"You're good at it until you're not good at it," John Cummings, founder of Minnesotans for Safe Driving, warned. "It only takes one."

No matter how many times someone's gotten away with it, just one mistake can end in tragedy. Cummings lost a son to a drunk driver, which is why began his advocacy group.

"It's usually some innocent person [who] pays the price," he said.

While nearly half of adults admitted to texting and driving, 43 percent of teens surveyed say they do too.

"They're also learning from their parents," Cummings said. "Parents are out doing it and they just think it's no big deal because nothing's ever happened. Well, it only has to happen once."

The survey also reveals that 60 percent of adults surveyed said they didn't text and drive three years ago, and Cummings said that may be a reflection of overconfidence built up over years without an incident.

"You've been driving for 20 or 30 years, you're a good driver, you got a clean driving record. 'I can handle the distraction,'" he said.

One driver who spoke with FOX 9 News said she wasn't surprised by the findings because awareness campaigns don't tend to talk specifically to adults.

"I expect adults to text more than teens -- especially because there've been so many incentives trying to get teens to stop texting," said Mandi Morgart.

Texting and driving is illegal in Minnesota, but police say that doesn't mean it's not happening.

"If it can be proven, additional charges will likely come forth," Sgt. Stephen McCarty warned.

According to the CDC, more than nine people are killed and more than 1,060 people are injured in crashes caused by distracted driving every day in America.

"That level of distraction has been equated to the same levels of danger with drunk driving," warned Jake DeWoskin.

Cummings equates texting and driving with putting on makeup or eating while driving, and he said the cost of those quick distractions can be devastating.

"Talk to someone who's been involved in a wrongful death suit," he suggested. "If you cripple somebody, make someone paraplegic or something -- what's that going to cost you?"

Researchers found that texting while driving multiplies the risk of a crash by 23 times.

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