Two in Ten (22%) Global Drivers Admit to Texting, Emailing or Using Social Media While in the Driver’s Seat

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Global — Two in ten (22%) of those in 24 countries who drive indicate they text, email, or use social media while they are driving (even when they’re at a stop sign or a red light). The findings reflect a new poll of 14,160 drivers conducted by Ipsos OTX – the global innovation center for Ipsos, the world’s third largest market and opinion research firm. A majority of driving respondents (78%) say they do not do this.

The countries with the highest proportions of drivers indicating they have texted, emailed or used social media while driving are from: Saudi Arabia (43%), South Africa (41%), South Korea (33%), India (29%), China (27%), United States (27%), Brazil (25%) and Russia (25%). This group of distracted drivers is followed by Indonesia (24%), Sweden (24%), Mexico (23%), Argentina (21%), Australia (20%), Germany (20%), Canada (19%) and Italy (19%), rounding out the middle of the pack. The lower group includes: Japan (18%), France (17%), Poland (17%), Turkey (17%), Belgium (15%), Spain (14%), Hungary (9%) and Great Britain (8%).

As for demographics, global averages indicate that age is among the most important variable in determining a driver’s likelihood to message behind the wheel as those under the age of 35 (31%) are most likely to say “yes” they engage in the behavior, compared with those 35-49 (21%) and those 50-64 (10%). There appears to be no gender difference (23% male, 22% female) on the global aggregate level.

Communicating digitally while in the car appears to be highly related to a person’s work life as those who are employed (25%) are more likely than those unemployed (15%) to say “yes”. Seniority is even more of an indicator as those who own a business (33%) are among the most likely to say they do it (20% among non business owners), as are those who say they have a senior decision making role in their place of employment (32% vs. 20% non). Similarly, income (28% high, 21% medium, 19% low) and education (25% high, 22% medium, 19% low) are also indicators of greater likelihood to drive and message.

These are findings of the research led by Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange (Ipsos OTX) collected by Ipsos Global @dvisor as part of Sociologue, an ongoing publication that features conversation-starting commentary on social media trends and behavior. The research was conducted on the “G@47”wave between July 2nd and July 16th, 2013. The monthly Global @dvisor data output is derived from a balanced online sample in 24 countries around the world via the Ipsos Online Panel system. For the results of the survey presented herein, an international sample of 18,002 adults (14,160 drivers) aged 18-64 in the US and Canada, and age 16-64 in all other countries, were interviewed. Approximately 1000+ individuals participated on a country by country basis via the Ipsos Online Panel with the exception of Argentina, Belgium, Hungary, Indonesia, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and Turkey, where each have a sample approximately 500+. The precision of Ipsos online polls are calculated using a credibility interval. In this case, a poll of 1,000 is accurate to +/- 3.5 percentage points and one of 500 is accurate to +/- 5.0 percentage points in their respective general populations. In countries where internet penetration is approximately 60% or higher the data output is weighted to reflect the general population. Of the 24 countries surveyed, 15 yield results that are representative: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States. The nine remaining countries surveyed –Brazil (45.6% Internet penetration among the citizenry), China (41%), India (11.4%), Indonesia (22.1%), Mexico (36.5%), Russia (47.7%), Saudi Arabia (49%), South Africa (17.4%) and Turkey (45.7%)—have lower levels of connectivity therefore cannot be weighted to be general population representative; however, the online sample in these countries are particularly valuable in their own right as they are more urban/educated/income than their fellow citizens and are often referred to as “Upper Deck Consumer Citizens”.

More data and full technical details are available in the Detailed Tables document on the right.

For more information on this news release please contact:

Jill Wiltfong
Senior Vice President, Marketing
Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange

About Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange

Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange (Ipsos OTX) is Ipsos' global innovation center. This multi-disciplinary team of researchers, strategists, digital natives, and design technologists is blending advancements in technology and a cultural shift toward social interactions to create the future of research, one that is immersive, collaborative, authentic and relevant. SocialogueTM is an ongoing publication from Ipsos OTX which features proprietary, global infographics and commentary on social media trends and behavior. For more information on the current suite of Ipsos OTX social media research tools, to find more about our Futures initiatives or to obtain social media details by country, contact us at ipsosopenthinkingexc

About Ipsos and Ipsos Global @dvisor

Ipsos is the world’s third largest market research company. With offices in 84 countries, Ipsos offers a complete line of custom, syndicated, omnibus, panel and online research products and services. Ipsos Global @dvisor is a 25-country, online, monthly syndicated research service used to generate information for media and clients. Every month, we complete 500 to 1,000 online interviews in each country. For more information visit or contact us at

Two in Ten (22%) Global Drivers Admit to Texting, Emailing or Using Social Media While in the Driver’s Seat


Jill Wiltfong
Senior VP, Marketing
Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange