Drivers in California ranked cell phone talking and texting as the biggest safety problem on the road in 2011 as opposed to the top problems in 2010, which were speeding and aggressive driving, according to the results of a state survey.
The results were from the second annual Traffic Safety Survey released on Thursday by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS).
In 2010, around 22 percent of drivers listed speeding and aggressive driving as the biggest problems on the road followed by cell phone talking and texting, which combined for 18 percent.
In 2011, the percentage of drivers who listed speeding and aggressive driving as top problems dropped to 17 percent, and those who listed cell phone talking and texting more than doubled to 39 percent. Drunk driving was third on this year's list replacing last year's "bad roads," with 12.6 percent of drivers considering it most dangerous.
"This second year of surveying the opinions and habits of California's drivers shows how quickly they react to the real problems we all face on the road," said OTS Director Christopher J. Murphy. “This information provides us with unique insight into the concern of Californians. It is very telling that we've seen such a shift in opinions on cell phone use in just one year."
Respondents who say they still use handheld phones for talking or texting dropped from last year, however respondents who say that they have almost been or been in an accident caused by someone talking or texting on a cell phone increased.
More drivers are saying that they are not consuming any alcohol before driving this year, perhaps because drivers are a more aware of the anti-drunk driving message, according to OTS. Drivers are also more aware of DUI checkpoints, with an 88 percent approval rate from California drivers this year.
The survey was conducted in gas stations in 15 different counties in California and 1,801 drivers age 18 and over participated.
The results from the survey will be used to" better identify and track driver attitudes, self- reported driving behavior, awareness of high visibility enforcement efforts and communications," as stated by the OTS.
"Having this second year of results is very helpful," said Murphy. "It is providing valuable data for our planning, particularly in distracted driving programs and the emerging drugged driving problem."
Published by Medicaldaily.com