National Phone Survey on Distracted Driving Attitudes and Behaviors

As more drivers take their cell phones into their vehicles, distracted driving continues to grow as a traffic safety issue. Most U.S. States responded by enacting some sort of cell phone or texting ban. In November and December 2010, NHTSA conducted a nationally representative telephone survey of 6,002 drivers 18 and older from all 50 States and the District of Columbia. The goal of the National Survey of Distracted Driving Attitudes and Behaviors was to assess current attitudes and self-reported behaviors about distracted driving. Also assessed were perceptions of safety, cell phone use, laws, fines, and enforcement. Most drivers will answer a call while driving and most will continue to drive after answering. About 2 out of 10 drivers (18%) report that they have sent text messages or e-mails while driving; about half (49%) of those 21 to 24 years old report doing so. More than half believe that using a cell phone and or sending a text message/e-mail makes no difference on their driving performance, yet as passengers, 90% said they would feel very unsafe if their driver was talking on a handheld cell phone or texting/e-mailing while traveling with them. Where gender, age, and income differences exist, males and younger respondents tend to underestimate the negative effects that cell phone use has on driving. Those in the upper income tier ($100,000/year or more) tend to report higher incidences of cell phone use while driving and perceive such behavior as safer than do those in the lower income tiers. Overall, most drivers report that driving becomes more dangerous when they take their eyes off the road for more than 2 seconds, and this is related to age. About one-third of drivers 18 to 24 years old said they can take their eyes off the road for 3 to 10 seconds or more before driving becomes significantly more dangerous.

  • Record URL:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Preusser Research Group, Incorporated

    7100 Main Street
    Trumbull, CT  United States  06611

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

    Office of Behavioral Safety Research, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Tison, Julie
    • Chaudhary, Neil
    • Cosgrove, Linda
  • Publication Date: 2011-12


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 104p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01361733
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-811 555
  • Created Date: Jan 31 2012 2:55PM