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Text Messaging Habits Analyzed

Study reveals that nearly 30 percent of mobile phone users drive while texting; South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia are the states with the worst offenders

Vlingo Corporation today issued the “Consumer Text Messaging Habits” report, based on research completed by independent research firm Common Knowledge Research Services. Based on a survey of nearly 5,000 U.S. consumers that aimed to understand how, when and why consumers use text messaging, the report revealed that texting has taken hold as a mainstream communication vehicle. The study found that 55 percent of consumers now use text messaging and 42 percent use their mobile phones to text as much or more than they do to make calls. Additionally, 28 percent of consumers admit to driving while texting (defined as emailing, instant messaging or texting). Drivers in the state of South Carolina are the worst offenders, with the highest percentage of respondents who drive while texting (DWT), while Arizona drivers boast the lowest number who text behind the wheel.

The full report can be downloaded at

Driving While Texting
Today, 23 states are considering legislation to ban driving while texting. Overall, 55 percent of respondents send text messages, and 28 percent admit to DWT. Among respondents, 78 percent believe DWT should be illegal. The report also uncovered the following:

  • 85 percent of respondents say they would not DWT if it were illegal.
  • 78 percent of all surveyed think DWT should be illegal.
  • 85 percent of teens and young adults (those 13-29) send text messages, and just over 50 percent of those ages 16-29 admit to DWT.

“In this data what we see is an approaching tidal wave of a public policy and safety issue,” said Dave Grannan, CEO of vlingo. “Text messaging has become an integral part of how younger generations communicate, and right now their behavior and attitudes suggest that 50 percent will be driving and texting. This problem is only going to get worse and we need to develop public policies and technologies to address this challenge.”

States with the Most and Least TWD Offenders
The report compared driving while texting habits on a state-by-state basis. South Carolina texters have the worst record, with 40 claiming to DWT and Arizona has the best record with just 17 percent of respondents admitting to DWT. The five states with the highest percentage of respondents who admit to DWT are:

  1. South Carolina (worst record)
  2. Tennessee
  3. Georgia
  4. Maryland
  5. Louisiana

The five states with the lowest percentage of respondents who DWT are:

  1. Arizona (best record)
  2. Maine
  3. Vermont
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Delaware

Overall Text Messaging Usage Trends
The study showed that 55 percent of consumers use their mobile phones to text message. Moreover, 42 percent report that they use their mobile phones equally or more for texting than making phones calls. Teens (ages 13-19) and young adults (ages 20-29) are the most inclined to use text messaging, each with 85 percent currently using texting to some extent. Yet teens are the most active users with:

  • 34 percent sending 500 or more texts each month.
  • 65 percent saying an inability to send text messages would have a negative impact on their lives.
  • 64 percent texting more than they call.

What’s Holding Back Usage?
Of the 45 percent of respondents who do not text, the top reasons included the following (respondents could select more than one reason):

  • 44 percent cite expense as the gating factor.
  • 40 percent say it takes too much time.
  • 30 percent say it’s too difficult to type on a mobile phone.
  • Nearly 90 percent of respondents use the standard 12 numeric keys as their mobile phone interfaces.

Responses were generated from a survey among 4,820 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.

About vlingo
Vlingo is a voice-powered user interface that unlocks access to mobile phone wireless data services. Vlingo allows users to speak or type into any vlingo-enabled text box and get accurate, easy and consistent access to all the information, entertainment and communication made possible through today’s mobile applications. By giving consumers control of the mobile Internet with the power of their voices, vlingo provides a quantum leap in usability for mobile data services that are currently restricted by limited user interfaces. IDC has named vlingo one of the “Ten Emerging Mobile Players to Watch in 2008.” The company secured its venture capital financing from Charles River Ventures, Sigma Partners and Yahoo! Inc. Founded in 2006, vlingo is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Why tap when you can talk?

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