Seventy-two percent of people who drive and own a cellular phone admitted that they use their mobile while driving, even though more than eight in 10 said they thought that doing so was dangerous, the Harris Interactive survey of 2,681 adults showed.
Most drivers used handheld rather than hands-free phones and said that hands-free devices were safer, showed the study, which was conducted online last month.
That belief ran "contrary to the evidence of available research that suggests that it is the minds, not the hands, of drivers that are adversely affected by talking on the phone," Harris Interactive said.
Even in states where talking on a handheld device is illegal, half of mobile phone users do it, ignoring a 2003 study by the Harvard Center of Risk Analysis that estimated that using a cellular phone while driving contributed to six percent of crashes a year, or 636,000 crashes.
Talking on the phone while driving increases the risk of having an accident four-fold and results in 330,000 injuries, 12,000 serious injuries and 2,600 deaths each year, according to the Harvard study.