Nearly 9 in 10 drivers say those who use cellphones while driving are a safety threat, but nearly 7 in 10 said they used their cellphone behind the wheel at least once in the past month, an AAA study finds.

And nearly a third said they drove while using their cellphone fairly often in that previous month.

Among other highlights of the national survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety issued this month:

–About 95 percent said it’s a safety threat for drivers to text message, email and check social media while behind the wheel. Despite that, more than 26.6 percent reported typing or sending a text or email at least once in the past 30 days and 34.6 percent read a text or email while driving during that time.

–90.3 percent believed distracted drivers are a somewhat or much bigger problem today than three years ago.

–71.3 percent said hands-free devices are  somewhat or much safer. But 57.4 percent who said they used a cellphone at least once in the past 30 days said they usually or always held the phone rather than use a hands-free device.

–86.4 percent said they somewhat or strongly support a law banning texting or emailing while driving.

–48.7 percent support  a total cellphone ban, whether hand-held or hands-free.

–61 percent of those age 16 to 24 and 53.3 percent of those 25 to 39 said they read a text or email while driving at least once in the past 30 days.

–65 percent who talked on a cellphone while driving fairly often or regularly in the past 30 days reported driving 15 mph or more over the speed limit on a freeway at least once during this time. Only 31 percent who reported never using a cellphone behind the wheel admitted to such speeding.

–47 percent who regularly talked on phones also ran a red light compared to 25 percent who never used their phones

–44 percent of frequent cellphone users admitted to drowsy driving; only 14 percent of those who reported not talking on their phones while driving did so.

The study noted that, as in previous AAA studies, “distracted driving remains both a major concern and a prevalent behavior of the American motoring public. As such, the nation’s safety culture is still best described by the phrase ‘do as I say, not as I do.’ ”


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