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Officers are more likely to text while driving

Feb. 11, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
A Marine attempts to text while driving in a simulator. A USAA survey shows that 51 percent of officers polled admitted to reading and sending text messages while driving. That compares with 41 percent of enlisted troops who say they're driving under the influence of text messages.
A Marine attempts to text while driving in a simulator. A USAA survey shows that 51 percent of officers polled admitted to reading and sending text messages while driving. That compares with 41 percent of enlisted troops who say they're driving under the influence of text messages. (Lance Cpl. Melissa Eschenbrenner / Marine Corps)
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Your commander may be worse than a typical teenager when it comes to texting and driving.

The number crunchers at USAA just released the results of their latest survey, and it turns out that 51 percent of officers polled admitted to reading and sending text messages while driving. That compares with 41 percent of enlisted troops who say they’re driving under the influence of text messages.

A similar survey by AT&T in 2012 found that 43 percent of teens are texting behind the wheel — the exact same rate as service members overall.

USAA recently surveyed more than 900 active-duty troops in all five branches living in nine major military hubs across the U.S.

While still not as bad as the more than 10,000 killed annually by drunken drivers, drivers distracted by their cellphones are taking an increasing toll. Safety experts blame texting and driving for the deaths of 3,328 people in 2012, with another 421,000 suffering injuries.

Even among the 90 percent of service members who consider texting while driving unsafe, one out of three still do it.

Troops returning from duty downrange, however, apparently have learned to be more cautious: Those who had deployed in the past six months were 56 percent less likely to text and drive.

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