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Do You DWT? The Law Says: Stop It!
      #33297 - 05/20/09 02:44 PM

Vlingo Corporation, maker of the popular mobile voice application, today released results from the second annual Vlingo Consumer Mobile Messaging Habits Report. Despite Driving While Texting (DWT) bans in seven states and the District of Columbia as well as reports of accidents caused by DWT, 26% of mobile phone users continue to text behind the wheel. Drivers in Tennessee are the worst offenders, with the highest percentage of respondents (42%) who admit to DWT, while Arizona has the lowest percentage (18.8%). The Vlingo Report also reveals that text messaging has grown steadily over the past 12 months across all age groups, with nearly 60% of mobile phone users now texting, compared to 54% in 2008. The Vlingo Consumer Mobile Messaging Habits Report is based on a survey of nearly 5,000 U.S. consumers and was fielded by independent panel research firm Toluna. Here is more info on the survey results:

"Driving while texting remains steady, consumers agree on need for legislation
One in four of all mobile phone users admit to DWT and it occurs in all age groups. Almost 60% of those ages 16 to 19 admit to DWT and 49% of those 20 to 29 admit to DWT. The percentages get smaller for older respondents, but usage remains high with 13% of those in their 50s admitting to doing so.

Among survey respondents there is general consensus that DWT should be legally banned. Slightly more than 83% of respondents think DWT should be illegal, while only 7% think DWT should be legal, and 10% are undecided. However, with more safety precautions such as hands-free solutions that enable consumers to text without typing, 40% of respondents favor making DWT legal. Additionally, nearly 70% would use voice recognition technology while driving instead of typing if they could speak text or email messages and have incoming messages read to them.

As of May 2009, only seven states and the District of Columbia have laws completely prohibiting any person from sending text messages while operating a vehicle. However, whether a state has a law banning DWT does not seem to correlate to less DWT activity.

- Two of the top five worst offenders (TN, NJ, AL, ID, OK) have some form of DWT/mobile phone ban in place or pending (one of which is focused solely on young drivers).
- Of the five states with the best records (AZ, VT, RI, OH, MI), only Rhode Island has a ban on DWT and it only applies to those under the age of 18.

?In just one year, the public conversation about the issue of DWT has escalated, particularly in the wake of some high-profile accidents,? said Dave Grannan, CEO of Vlingo. ?Texting is such an integral component of our daily lives, and the cautionary tales about DWT danger have not stemmed the tide. We predicted last year that this problem would get worse, and it has since more people are texting. The good news is that many state legislatures are starting to take up this issue, and today more advanced technologies exist that can increase safety on the roads.?

Texting on the rise
This year, nearly 60% of mobile phone owners use their phones to text:
In 2008, teens and twenty-somethings were by far the largest users of texting, coming in at 85%. In 2009, this continued to be true with teens at 94% and 20-somethings at 87%, but usage also increased for older age groups. Among those in their 40s, usage jumped from 56% to 64%, and for those in their 50s it jumped from 38% to 46%.
Texting is also gaining on sending/receiving calls as the primary use of mobile phones, with 35% of all respondents using their phones for texting more than for phone calls. Almost half of respondents do both in equal numbers.
The volume of text messages has gone up as well across all age groups, although the 13 to 19 age group remains the most active, sending more than 500 texts per month on average.

High costs, tiny keypads holding back usage
Despite the popularity of mobile data services, of those surveyed, 41% do not text, 70% do not browse the Web, and 73% do not use email on their mobile phones. With 86% of respondents paying their mobile phone bills themselves, a significant percentage cite cost as a barrier to adoption for data services (44% for cite cost as a barrier to adopting text messaging, 59% for Web Browsing, and 53% for mobile email). Among those who do not text message, 27% cite the difficulty of typing on a tiny keyboard as a barrier, while 37% say it takes too much time to type. However, usability enhancements such as voice enablement would increase usage ? 74% report that they would use voice enablement as a way to make text messaging easier.

The Vlingo Consumer Mobile Messaging Habits Report was fielded by independent panel research firm Toluna and responses were generated from a survey among 4,816 online opinion panel members (age 13 or older) living in the continental United States. The sample was matched to U.S. Census proportions on gender, age and ethnicity and included approximately 100 respondents from each of the 48 contiguous U.S. states. Respondents were also screened for mobile phone ownership and usage. The survey bears a statistical accuracy of +/- 1.41% for the total sample at the 95% confidence level."

The full report can be requested at


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