Cell phone use while driving is more prevalent in the United States than in Europe, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The report, published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, analyzed 2011 survey data for drivers ages 18 to 64 in the United States and seven European countries -- Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Among U.S. drivers, 69 percent reported that they had talked on their cell phones while driving within the 30 days before they were surveyed. In Europe, the portion ranged from 21 percent of drivers in the United Kingdom to 59 percent in Portugal.
Meanwhile, 31 percent of U.S. drivers reported that they had read or sent text messages or emails while driving. In Europe, that portion ranged from 15 percent of drivers in Spain and 31 percent in Portugal.
In the United States, there were no significant differences between men and women in terms of cell phone use while driving, but there were differences by age. A greater portion of 25- to 44-year-olds reported talking on the phone while driving than those ages 55 to 64. A higher percentage of 18- to 34-year-olds reported reading or sending text or email messages while driving than those ages 45 to 64.
As of February 2013, 33 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws restricting at least some teens or new drivers from using cell phones while driving. More research is needed to identify strategies that can decrease distraction-related crashes, researchers say.
The CDC's Motor Vehicle Safety web page provides information about preventing injuries and deaths on the nation's roads.