SURVEY SAYS – Do You Text While Driving?

September 10, 2009 ( - This week I asked readers if they texted while they drove.

The answer, while not unanimous, was nearly as the responses to our 09/11 question.   It even inspired one reader to ask “Is this a trick question? Do you think your readers are THAT stupid??”   

Maybe not.   A full three-quarters ( 75.7% ) of this week’s respondents said they NEVER did so (one reader commented, “Never ever ever ever!!!!” ), though 15.9% said they did so “once in a while”, and nearly 7% said “yes, in an emergency.”  

A mere 1.6% said they did so “all the time.”


Those statistics notwithstanding, there were some particularly amusing verbatims this week.   Among my favorites:

“The thought that other drivers on the road may be doing this while driving terrifies me.”

“What’s a text???”

“Shoot no.   I’m too busy listening to the radio, eating breakfast, shaving, reading the WSJ and yelling at all the bad drivers.”

“Never while rolling. Stop lights are a productivity opportunity!”

“I only read or respond to email at red lights and since my commute includes about 25 of them, I am able to respond pretty quickly.”

“I can hardly walk and chew gum. Not certain how I could email. I will pull over, however.”

I can barely text when I’m NOT driving!!!

But this week’s Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said “It’s hard enough avoiding those that are texting.”

Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey!

Editor’s note:  Several readers mentioned that Public Service Announcement put out in the UK about texting while driving.  If you haven’t seen it – you should.  Warning – it’s intense.   MORE

This is the video that many of you referenced.  Warning - it's pretty intense. 

If you can't see the below video, try

  • Have in the past, very minimally, but will no longer, given the statistics recently made public.
  • Not a good idea.
  • While I'm sitting at a stop light
  • If everyone drove a stick like I do, no one would be able to text while driving.
  • What's a text???
  • I only read or respond to email at red lights and since my commute includes about 25 of them, I am able to respond pretty quickly.
  • ABSOLUTELY NOT!   Driving, at any time, requires concentration, especially when there are "road-ragers" out there on the highway.   Why invite grand-scale trouble/injury?
  • Not proud of it.
  • Only when I'm stopped at a red light or a stop sign.
  • Too bad   we can't take pictures   of those who do and turn them in to the police as unsafe drivers. I would be a passenger   in a car holding a camera   and make it my hobby to get those idiots off the road before they hurt or kill someone.
  • Never ever ever ever!!!!
  • I do most of it at a light or when stopped in traffic.
  • Are you kidding?   I can barely talk on the phone and drive at the same time.   Not that I do that all that often.   And forget about trying to dial a number while driving.   My work phone has voice recognition and if I have to dial, I use that.   However, half the time it really doesn't recognize what I'm saying.   So I have to wait for a stop light and dial it anyway.
  • more or less when sitting idle or in driving under 5 mph.   I try to be more cognizant nowadays.   I rarely text or talk on the phone without a handsfree device
  • I don't know how to text, so I'm pretty safe; that is safe to other drivers.
  • Texting/emailing while driving should be outlawed, similar to driving while intoxicated.
  • I don't actually text any time (I reveal how technologically ancient I am - and I'm not yet 40).   Still, I can't imagine texting while driving.   I tend to need my hands, my eyes, and my brain for driving.
  • but limit it to stops lights . . . I've experienced how dangerous it is to take your eyes off the road.   It's not worth multi-tasking when yours and other lives are put in danger.
  • I try not to. And if I'm a passenger in a car with someone else who is doing it, I'll try to take the device away (difficult to do sometimes) and suggest they tell me what they want entered and I'll type away for them!
  • It's hard enough to dial while driving....texting would be impossible!
  • I can hardly walk and chew gum.   Not certain how I could email.   I will pull over, however.
  • It would seem to be even more dangerous than talking on a cell phone while driving, since it would seem to be necessary to look at your phone while texting.
  • I should be honest and say I don't have a car.   For that matter, I also don't have a cell or other mobile device to text on in the non existent car.
  • Shoot no.   I'm too busy listening to the radio, eating breakfast, shaving, reading the WSJ and yelling at all the bad drivers.
  • Talking on the cellphone is bad enough, especially when traffic is difficult.
  • I do it rarely and with great irritation... the only people who text me are my kids. Phoning to exchange the one-word answers they want and give would be so much faster.
  • I can barely text when I'm NOT driving!!!
  • It's illegal in CA to text. And yet I see a fair number of people doing it as they are driving. I have a co-worker who texts one-handed while he's speeding down the freeway. Yikes!
  • I will say that I am not truly capable to doing it safely, and I need to NEVER do it again. I just find that I am not quick enough to dash a note off at a stop light like some people can.
  • No, it's illegal in MN to drive and text, but still OK to make phone calls, which makes me wonder...if I get pulled over for dialing a phone number will they grab my phone and start checking recent history?
  • Who in their right mind would be crazy enough to text or email while driving?!???   I can see entering a quick message while stopped at a light, but the chances of getting in an accident or seriously hurting someone are astronomical when you take your eyes off the road and focus on something else.   I know, I know, everyone who does it is good at it and has total control over everything.   What they don't realize is that they are idiotmobiles that those of us who see them crazily punching on their phones go out of our way to avoid.
  • what idiot would do this?
  • I only do it while at a stop light and even then very rarely - I don't like all the honks because I'm not paying attention.
  • My phone isn't capable of these features.   My phone has the function to make calls when I want to make them which isn't often and it will ring into me but only when I have my cell phone on.   It might even take a message if I don't answer - but again, I'd have to have it turned on.
  • Cell phones should not be used while driving.   Period.
  • On occasion, I do dial while driving.   It reminds me of how foolish it is to try doing this while driving and I pray for all the people around me that I don't cause an accident.
  • Never while rolling.   Stop lights are a productivity opportunity!
  • I have been known to dial a phone number, however, and that's not much better.
  • I have never texted and driven, but I have peeked when stopped at lights at e-mails and texts to determine if I need to respond. I have seen too many people whom have almost had an accident to think it is a good idea.
  • Not while driving, but when sitting a traffic lights.
  • While I may occasionally break the law while using my phone "as a phone" when I drive, I never text or e-mail.
  • anybody that does should have their driver's license revoked for a year and pay a stiff fine especially if this caused an accident.
  • At stop lights
  • Good heavens - I can't talk and drive - much less watch my fingers on that little tiny keyboard!
  • It's hard enough avoiding those that are texting.
  • I might look/glance at what I receive, but, will not try to reply.
  • I can't do it - I have people text me while driving and it is very distracting - I call back instead of text and people get   upset - they can't talk now - oh well - I can't text now... Hands free cell phones are a blessing when you spend all day every day on the road.   I simply can not pull off the road every time I need to make a call.   If they outlaw cell phones, I will lose my mind! Talk about returning to stone ages!
  • I guess I should qualify Never - because now it's against state law!
  • The thought that other drivers on the road may be doing this while driving terrifies me.
  • Usually at a stop light if I need to
  • But I do talk on my phone while I drive. I live in a state where it is illegal to talk on the phone while driving without a hands free device.   I do not have one, so I have to resort to speaker phone and holding the phone in my lap.   Which is so much safer than actually just holding the phone to my ear.   Oh wait...maybe not.
  • Is this a trick question?   Do you think your readers are THAT stupid??
  • I text with my right hand, while holding my beer in my left.
  • My truthful answer is "NOT ANYMORE" - a friend sent me a link to the YouTube video of the British Public Service Announcement on texting while driving.   After watching that, I have NO desire to text and drive.   I sent the link to my 19 year old son, too.
  • Only idiots with a death wish text or email while driving.
  • I don't text on my phone, period. And, if did, I value my life way too much to be texting while driving. I'd like to see my children grow up, graduate, marry and have their own children. In this day and age of an incessant need for information 24/7 wanting it here and now, I feel certain things can just wait for a response, it might do us some good to learn patience! And, our perspectives might just change if we sat back, focused, and thought about things just for a total of five seconds instead of always being connected. As my manager says, she loves her blackberry, but it will not control her life!
  • I think texting while driving should be outlawed.
  • I have a friend whose sister is now permanently disabled (at age 22) because last year her girlfriend was texting while driving and caused an accident that also killed the driver of the other car.   A few months later the same women was again texting and caused another accident--this time killing herself.
  • If you have ever been in a wreck in which people are injured or died, you learn the hard way that driving is a serious business which demands your complete attention.   To do otherwise is to say that your immediate desires for personal gratification take precedence over another person's right to life.
  • Texting while driving is an incredibly stupid and selfish act.
  • Unless you have a hands-free communicating system in your car, it is a very dangerous thing to drive and use a phone, etc. Laws should become stricter about this kind of thing.
  • ...and I refuse to 'enable' others who do.   When I find I am corresponding with an active driver, I stop responding immediately (and chastise them later, although invariably they laugh and say they can handle it - much like a driver who has been drinking).
  • What could possibly be so important that you can't wait until you get home or to work to text or email someone?!?   If it's that important, pull over a do it safely! Are these people so important or think they are so popular that they should be risking the lives of those around them just so they can be available 24/7?
  • I did it once to answer one of my children but I ran a red light thank God no one was coming through it.   It made me realize that you need to have your full attention on driving when driving and avoid the distraction of anything else-it can wait until you stop and are no longer behind a 4 ton machine!
  • Sad to say, I love my computer and I love the technology of today, but I still do not know how to text, so I definitely do not text while driving, but I am "guilty" for talking on my cell phone while driving.
  • In Oregon, a law was recently passed that prohibits handheld devices while driving.   All drivers will need to have earphones or Blue Tooth in the future.
  • I don't even text when I'm *walking* across a street!   🙂
  • And if necessary to prevent people from doing something they shouldn't do anyway, we'll probably have to enact laws against it....
  • Although I know I shouldn't, I do much to my wife's dismay. She hates it when I do, and as usual she is right!
  • Our state has banned any use (except in an emergency) of cell phones without a hands free device.   Also prohibited: emailing, use of laptop computers, playing electronic games and digital photographic devices.   I guess I am not that talented - whodu thunk drivers actually did that, too?!