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SALT LAKE CITY — Those who text behind the wheel are far more likely to engage in other dangerous driving practices, a new AAA study says.
Though 95 percent of licensed drivers disapprove of texting while driving, 27 percent of them still report sending at least one text or email while driving in the last month. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found those who do engage in the distracting practice are more likely to speed, drive drowsy and not wear a seat belt.
According to AAA, the trend is troubling due to the high number of deaths and injuries from crashes involving distractions. Annually, about half a million people are injured and more than 3,000 people die in these crashes.
Of the drivers who reported recent use of their cell phone while driving, 65 percent reported speeding, 44 percent reported driving while drowsy and 29 percent said they drove without a seat belt.
Meantime, of those who reported keeping their hands off their phones in the car, only 31 percent said they sped, 14 percent reported drowsy driving and 16 percent said they did not wear a seat belt while driving.
Perhaps unsurprisingly for a plugged-in generation, young drivers — those ages 16 through 24 — were the most likely group to text or email and drive, with 61 percent of them doing so recently.