According to a State Farm July survey of 1,000 motorists, people over the last four years are increasingly using web services while behind the wheel with the growing popularity of smartphones and social media.
The survey showed that cell phone usage while driving increased from 29 percent in 2009 to 48 percent in 2012 and reading social media while driving increased from 21 percent to 26 during the same period of time for drivers. The interesting fact about the data is as many believe distracted driving is a problem for teenagers but the survey was for those ages 18-29.
“The mobile internet is generating another set of distractions for drivers to avoid,” said Chris Mullen, director of technology research at State Farm. “While the safety community is appropriately working to reduce texting while driving, we must also be concerned about the growing use of multiple mobile web services while driving.”
Younger Americans do remain hypocritical on the issue of practicing distracted driving. A Consumer Reports survey conducted earlier this year showed that many know texting and other cell phone usage while driving is bad but admit to doing it themselves. Of the respondents, age 16-21 agreed distracted driving was dangerous and supported putting laws in place against it but 29 percent of them admitted to participating in distracted driving.
While this issue remains to be a focus on younger generations, children follow what their parents do and clearly parents are using cellphones while driving.
“Our survey showed that while far too many young people are driving while distracted, they are less likely to do so when their parents, friends, or siblings set a good example," said Rik Paul, Consumer Reports auto editor. "We encourage everyone to stop the car in a safe place if they need to use a cell phone. And if they're riding with a driver using a handheld phone, ask him or her to put it down and stop gambling with their safety."
As for possible solutions to distracted driving, the survey did show a decrease in the likelihood of cellphone usage while a passenger was in the car. Nearly 50 percent of respondents said they were less likely to use a phone when a friend was in the car with them.
Parents are also encouraged to practice preventative maintenance on their vehicles to ensure engines, parts and mounts, brakes and windshield wipers are all working properly.