Talking, Texting and Bumping Into Things

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(Collin Campbell, Transportation Nation) We've tried to keep up with the federal government's push to get drivers off of their cell phones.  The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has added a few data points to that debate now.  Among the new survey's findings:

  • Overall, 44% of adults say they have been passengers of drivers who used the cell phone in a way that put themselves or others in danger.
  • Adults are just as likely as teens to have texted while driving and are substantially more likely to have talked on the phone while driving.
  • Almost half of adults say they have been passengers in a car when the driver was sending or reading text messages on their cell phone.

The survey is a short and interesting read.  But there's a nugget inside it that may be the most foreboding:

More than one in 10 American adults have "bumped into something or someone" because they have been "so engrossed in talking, texting or otherwise using their cell phones." Further, "millennials who own cell phones are by far the most likely to have bumped into someone or something: 33% have done so."

The survey questions don't ask whether you were behind the wheel or not.  But if everyone -- especially one-third of those just learning how to drive -- is so comfortable with these collisions, and that level of distraction, then what's coming on the roads may be very, very bad news.