A new AAA study finds that U.S. motorists believe driving while texting is nearly as dangerous as driving while drunk.
California law prohibits using mobile devices to text message or email while driving. Drivers over 18 are allowed to talk on the phone while driving, but only if they use a hands-free device.
A recent survey of 2,500 U.S. residents ages 16 and older by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 90 percent of those surveyed believe drunken driving poses a very serious threat to their safety; 87 percent said text messaging or e-mailing while driving is just as dangerous.
However, more than two-thirds of survey respondents admitted to talking on a cell phone, hands-free or otherwise, while driving in the past month, and 21 percent said they have read or sent a text message or email while driving, according to AAA.
AAA Northern California spokeswoman Jenny Mack said the study highlights an unfortunate "Do as I say, not as I do" attitude among some drivers.
"AAA would like to end the belief that 'It's the other guy's problem' and end the false sense of security that 'If I chat on a hands-free cell phone I'm somehow safer," she said.