U.S. beats Europe in cellphone use while driving

John Egan

Americans are proud of their country. No doubt about it. But there's no national pride in a new analysis showing that U.S. drivers talk on their cellphones more frequently than European drivers -- especially the Brits.

The analysis by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows 25 percent of drivers in the United States reported talking on their cellphones "regularly" or "fairly often" while driving. The percentage of European drivers who reported using cellphones "regularly" or "fairly often" behind the wheel ranged from 21 percent in the Netherlands to 3 percent in the United Kingdom.

Americans fared somewhat better when it came to texting or emailing behind the wheel.

According to the CDC, 9 percent of U.S. drivers reported they "regularly" or "fairly often" text or email while driving. In Europe, the percentage of drivers who reported texting or emailing "regularly" or "fairly often" while driving ranged from 10 percent in the Netherlands to 1 percent in the United Kingdom.

The figures on distracted driving came from surveys conducted last year in the United States and several European countries.

In the United States, nearly 15 people die each day in crashes that involve distracted driving, and another 1,200 people are injured, according to the National Highway Safety Administration.

"Distracted driving is an important and growing public health concern," the CDC says. "Regardless of what state you live in, all drivers on the road have a personal responsibility to give their full attention to the driving task when behind the wheel."

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