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Mobile Device Use While Driving More Common in the US than in Several European Countries

Most U.S. drivers reported talking on their cell phone and about one in three read or sent text or email messages when driving, according to a new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The study, published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, examined two specific types of self-reported distracted driving behaviors: cell phone use while driving and reading or sending text or e-mail messages while driving, among drivers aged 18-64 years in the United States and in seven European countries (Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom).

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 the 30 days before they were surveyed compared to 21 percent of drivers from the United Kingdom. The study also found that 31 percent of drivers in the United States reported that they had read or sent text messages or emails while driving, compared  to 15 percent of drivers in Spain.

“The cell phone can be a fatal distraction for those who use it while they drive,” said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden.  “Driving and dialing or texting don’t mix.  If you are driving, pull over to a safe place and stop before you use your cell phone.”

CDC researchers also looked specifically at U.S. drivers and found that in the 30 days before they were surveyed:

  • There were no significant differences between men and women in terms of cell phone use or reading or sending text or e-mail messages while driving.
  • A higher percentage of 25-44 year-old men and women reported talking on a cell phone while driving than those ages 55–64, and;
  • A higher percentage of 18-34 year-old men and women reported reading or sending text or e-mail messages while driving than those ages 45-64.

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