Adults don't differ from teens when it comes to texting while driving — and many more of them talk on cellphones while driving, new research suggests.

A poll of U.S. teens and adults founds 27 per cent of adults saying they had texted while behind the wheel, compared with 26 per cent of teenagers. And 61 per cent of adults in the survey admitted they had used a cellphone while driving, versus 43 per cent of teens.

"While previous research has shown that one in four teen drivers text at the wheel, this data suggests that adults are now just as likely to engage in this risky behaviour," said Mary Madden, senior research specialist at the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project and co-author of the report.

"Adults may be the ones sounding the alarm on the dangers of distracted driving, but they don't always set the best example themselves." 

About 14 per cent of adult cellphone owners in the survey confessed they had been so preoccupied while talking or texting that they had bumped into a person or another object.

The survey of 2,252 adults aged 18 and over took place between April 29 and May 30, 2010, and has a deemed margin of error of three percentage points. The survey of teens aged 16 to 17 was conducted between June 26 and Sept. 24, 2009, and, like the adult survey, was done by Princeton Survey Research.

The survey found that 82 per cent of adults owned cellphones and 58 per cent had received or sent text messages. Conversely, 75 per cent of teens owned a cellphone and 66 per cent of them had texted.

In Canada, most provinces have banned using handheld devices like cellphones and smartphones while driving.