Survey: 9 out of 10 say phoning while driving should be illegal - half do it themselves

We all know that driving while talking on the cell phone is a distraction. Even if you say you're a good driver with superior multi-tasking skills, blabbing on a phone while piloting a two-ton automobile is a quick way to show that you are in fact not smarter than a fifth grader. Don't let Jeff Foxworthy and his band of miscreants shame you, though... nearly all of us have done it in a moment of weakness. A recent survey of 1,000 motorists found that 90 percent believe that talking on the phone while driving should be illegal. The flip side is that 51 percent of that same data set admit they have used their phone while out on the road.

The survey, sponsored by the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, highlights an interesting paradox in our thinking – the "it won't happen to me" notion. A majority of us agree that doing something is dangerous yet we do it anyway, even when we think it should be illegal. We believe we're somehow better than the folks who get in the distracted-driving car accidents but we're exhibiting similar behavior. We eat food, send texts, read our Kindles, call mom and check e-mail while we should be paying more attention to the road. It's not just about making sure your vehicle is heading where it's supposed to go but to also maintain awareness of what's happening around you – and that's extremely difficult to do when typing out "LOL, OMG-guy nxt 2 me drvng CRZY!!11!"

Check out the official press release after the jump for more details on the survey.

[Source: Chubb Group]

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More Than Half of Motorists Use Cell Phones While Driving, But 9 of 10 Say Outlaw It

Although Few Admit to It, Many Say Others Shave, Apply Makeup and Change Their Clothes

WARREN, N.J., Sept. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- More than half of U.S. motorists say they have used a cell phone while driving, but nine out of 10 say it should be illegal to do so, according to a survey sponsored by the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies.

The 2010 Chubb Driver Distraction Survey asked 1,000 motorists throughout the United States about three types of cell phone uses while driving: talking with a hand-held phone, talking with a hands-free phone and texting. Of the 356 respondents who said they have talked on a hand-held cell phone while driving, 43% said it should be illegal to do so. Of the 315 respondents who have talked on a hands-free cell phone while driving, 11% said it should be illegal to do so. An overwhelming 80% of the 133 respondents who have texted while driving said that should be illegal. Almost a third of younger drivers (ages 18 to 34 years) said they have texted while driving.

Although 77% of respondents have observed other motorists apply makeup, shave and brush their hair, only 8% admitted to engaging in such personal grooming activities behind the wheel. In addition, 18% of respondents have seen others change their clothes while driving, but only 3% admitted to doing so themselves.

Nearly 5,500 people died in 2009 in crashes involving a distracted driver, and more than half a million were injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.

"Our survey shows a disconnect between how people view the dangers associated with distracted driving and their own behavior behind the wheel," said Raymond Crisci, vice president and worldwide automobile product manager for Chubb Personal Insurance. "We're hopeful that as people continue to become more educated regarding the hazards associated with distracted driving, they'll be less likely to engage in risky behavior."

Below is a summary of the survey results:

Which of the following activities have you engaged in while driving?

Eating or drinking - 63%
Changing CDs, radio stations or songs on an mp3 player - 57%
Using a cell phone - 51%
Hand-held - 36%
Hands-free - 31%
Texting - 13%
Arguing with unruly children - 19%
Personal grooming (makeup, shaving, brushing hair) - 8%
Changing clothes - 3%

Which of the following activities have you observed other motorists doing?

Using a cell phone - 97%
Hand-held - 93%
Hands-free - 78%
Texting - 75%
Eating or drinking - 90%
Personal grooming (makeup, shaving, brushing hair) - 77%
Changing CDs, radio stations or songs on an mp3 player - 62%
Arguing with unruly children - 62%
Changing clothes - 18%

Which of the following activities should be illegal while driving?

Using a cell phone - 90%
Texting - 87%
Hand-held - 66%
Hands-free - 28%
Changing clothes - 79%
Personal grooming (makeup, shaving, brushing hair) - 69%
Arguing with unruly children - 24%
Eating or drinking - 21%
Changing CDs, radio stations or songs on an mp3 player - 17%

The telephone survey of 1,000 Americans was conducted in May by Opinion Research Corp.

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