In the 2011 Survey of Community Attitudes to Road Safety, 54% of drivers admit they have answered calls while driving and 27% own up to making calls.
Nearly one-third of respondents admit reading text messages while in control of a moving car, and 14% say they have sent messages.
But 86% acknowledge using a mobile phone while driving increases the chance of an accident.
Almost 98% of respondents in the survey, released by the Federal Government, agreed with random breath testing and 85% were in strong agreement.
Respondents also agreed speed was the factor that most often caused accidents.
Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Transport Catherine King said the survey showed a complex picture of the community's relationship with road safety.
"The findings suggest that Australians generally have good awareness of the major factors involved in road crashes, such as speeding, drink driving, lack of concentration and fatigue," Ms King said in a statement.
"It also shows that Australians on the whole approve of existing traffic regulation and enforcement practices."
However, Ms King said these responsible attitudes did not necessarily translate to responsible driver behaviour.
"I am particularly disturbed by the proportion of drivers who admit to reading or sending text messages.
"It should be obvious to everyone that texting while driving is reckless behaviour and is simply unacceptable."
While drivers' knowledge of the dangers of speeding has increased, 70% of drivers admit to sometimes travelling at 10 kilometres or more above the speed limit.
And 28% of people believe it is all right to speed as long as it is done safely.
Driver fatigue is still a significant issue.
About 13% of respondents said they had fallen asleep at the wheel, and among them 44% had done so more than once.
Have you used your phone while driving?