Insurance provider State Farm recently conducted an online survey which showed that nearly 20 percent of motorists have accessed the Internet via smartphone while driving. About 912 people filled out the online survey, which would mean one in five smartphone users have jumped online to surf the web, check Facebook, write an email, look up driving directions or use an app.
All this smartphone use can easily cause driver distraction, which can be deadly. According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 80 percent of collisions and 65 percent of near-collisions involve driver distraction. While driver distraction pertains to more than just cell phone and smartphone use, it is one of its leading causes.
If it makes you feel any better, the study participants noted that they mostly access the web when they’re in heavy traffic, at a red light, or driving on a long and open road. Oh, and also during daylight hours. If you live in a major metropolitan area these activities pretty much cover 90 percent of all driving encounters. Maybe it would’ve been better for participants to say “the only time I don’t use my smartphone is at night when I’m driving on a short, but windy road that I’m unfamiliar with.”
Readers should note that this study was not scientific, and that respondents may generally represent a more “plugged-in” demographic of insured motorists because the survey was conducted online. Still, put down that smartphone while driving!