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Poll: What activities do you engage in while driving?

Friday - 10/21/2011, 4:47am  ET

WASHINGTON - Answering phone calls, checking email, reading and writing text messages, putting on make-up and shaving. Judging by the responses to our WTOP Beltway poll, local drivers are doing much more behind the wheel than simply, well, driving.

While nearly half of the 641 drivers polled in the area say they listen to the radio, about three out of every 10 admit to eating and drinking. About one out of every 10 says they read or write text messages. A smaller percentage say they check email, Facebook or other websites on their phones. Some even say they shave and put on make-up. Others flat out admitted to reading while driving.


Complete results of the poll:

Which of the following things do you do while driving? This might be something you do regularly or even just now and then while driving.

Total Va. Md. D.C.
622 239 290 88
Listen to the radio 48% 50% 45% 48%
Eat or drink 29% 29% 27% 27%
Look for music to play (CDs, MP3s, radio stations) 28% 26% 28% 28%
Answer a phone call 27% 28% 25% 23%
Talk on phone with hands-free device 27% 28% 24% 25%
Sing to yourself 26% 23% 23% 32%
Call someone on the phone 22% 26% 19% 11%
Look at a GPS or map 21% 23% 16% 22%
Talk on the phone without a hands-free device 14% 17% 12% 8%
Adjust the seating position 9% 9% 8% 14%
Read a text message 8% 9% 6% 8%
Write a text message 7% 5% 7% 7%
Smoke 7% 6% 6% 4%
Use phone 'app' 6% 4% 5% 8%
Check e-mail 3% 2% 2% 7%
Check Facebook or MySpace 2% 2% 3% 1%
Shave or put make-up on 2% 2% 1% 5%
Read 1% * 1% 2%
None of the above 8% 5% 11% 6%
Refused * - * _

The D.C. Metro phone survey was conducted between Oct. 10 and 13 among 641 adults ages 18 and up. The survey included representative samples of 240 people in Virginia (Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, Spotsylvania, Stafford counties); 301 in Maryland (Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Montgomery, Prince George's counties) and 100 in the District of Columbia.

The margin of error for a sample of this size is +/- 3.8 at 95 percent confidence.

Heart + Mind Strategies is a non-partisan market research consultancy based in Reston, Va.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All rights reserved.)