A new report says that not only are phoning and texting while driving still serious issues, but distracted driving may soon soar as Echo Boomers increasingly hit the road with their iPhones, iPads and various other mobile Web-surfing devices.

Yet, the report also indicates that Echo Boomers, age 35 and under, show little interest in technology that improves the safety of having wired devices and built-in electronics in their new cars.

Those findings are part of the “Wired-in-the-Car” report based on a survey of consumers who visit Autobytel websites.

Feedback indicates drivers continue to be conflicted among the following:

  • Their desire to be “plugged-in,” with 40% overall wanting the Internet in their vehicles.
  • Their concerns about safety, with 87% believing in-vehicle Web access is a safety issue
  • Their actual behavior, with over 50% still admitting to, at some point, illegally texting/phoning while driving (even though 95% want the Internet banned or restricted in vehicles).

Industry predictions are that 90% of vehicles will have some form of wireless connectivity by 2016. However 50% of respondents predict that reality will come by 2013.

The report indicates that Echo Boomers are both less likely to want a ban on Internet access/use in their cars (64% say no) and far more likely to be in an accident caused by an in-car electronic device (with twice as many accidents as those over 35).

Survey respondents overwhelmingly support laws that restrict texting while driving in every state (90%), but only 3% of respondents have ever been ticketed for using a cell phone or texting while driving.

Sixty-eight percent of Echo Boomers indicate that the ability to surf the Internet in their car was either “very important” or “nice to have.”

However, technology that would make in-vehicle use of electronic devices safer is not a high priority for survey respondents, with only 8% of Echo Boomers (and 14% of respondents overall) favoring voice controlled mobile interfaces that minimize distractions.

In contrast, 30% cited GPS navigation as something they don't currently have in the car but would like.

Nearly 6,000 people died in car crashes involving a distracted driver, and more than half a million people were injured, according to a 2009 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Admin.