Third of people SMS while driving

A new poll shows young drivers are more likely to use cell phones while driving, and that 30% of them have recently texted from behind the wheel, US transportation officials said.

The release of the poll came as Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called distracted driving "a deadly epidemic."

The poll comes from the magazine Consumer Reports, which is working with the US Department of Transportation to create awareness about the dangers of cell phone use while driving.

Among the findings are that 63% of respondents under 30-years-old reported using a handheld phone while driving in the past 30 days, the Department of Transportation said.

And 30% of the drivers texted from behind the wheel in the same time period according to the survey, which had a total of 1,026 respondents.

Older drivers were less likely to talk on the phone behind the wheel, and only 9% of those over 30 years-old reported they had recently texted while driving.

LaHood, appearing at the Yonkers, New York, headquarters of Consumer Reports, said teens are more likely to drive distracted because of peer pressure.

(Reuters Health, March 2011)

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