N.J. drivers support texting ban but still do it

Thu Jul 16, 2009 6:43pm EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Although most people in New Jersey support a law forbidding texting while driving and think it should be more strictly enforced, one in five said they have sent a text while behind the wheel, according to a new study.

Not surprisingly, texting was most popular among teenagers and young adults, with 57 percent of drivers under 30 saying they had sent and received texts while driving.

The only people not sending texts were those over 60.

"As we embrace new technology, the number of people sending texts while driving continues to increase," said Dan Cassino, the director of experimental research for Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind Poll, which conducted the survey of 951 New Jersey drivers.

He added that drivers who text are also more likely to speed, use cell phones while behind the wheel and make rude gestures at other motorists.

Nearly 85 percent of drivers admitted to speeding occasionally, more than 20 percent said they hold cell phones very often or sometimes while driving, and 21 percent have driven after drinking alcohol.

Yet despite all the multitasking behind the wheel, the majority of New Jersey drivers -- 70 percent -- thought their driving skills were above average.

Slightly more than half identified New Yorkers as the worst drivers in the area, while 16 percent cited people from Pennsylvania.

"There is a certain kind of logic to these results," Cassino said in a statement. "If almost everyone in New Jersey is above average, the bad drivers have to be somewhere."

(Reporting by Joan Gralla; editing by Patricia Reaney)