New research from State Farm shows that the problem of distracted driving extends beyond well-publicized incidents of texting.
In a new survey of almost 900 motorists, the insurance company found use of mobile Web services has increased dramatically over the last two years.
Among drivers 18 to 29:
- Accessing the Internet on a cellphone while driving increased to 43 percent in 2011, from 29 percent in 2009.
- Reading social media networks while driving rose to 37 percent in 2011, from 21 percent in 2009.
- Updating social media networks while driving jumped to 33 percent in 2011, from 20 percent in 2009.
"The mobile Web is a growing issue for safety advocates concerned about distractions while driving," says David Beigie, State Farm public affairs vice president, in a press statement. "Additionally, while the focus has been on young people, the data also indicates that motorists of all ages are increasing their use of the mobile Web while driving."
For all drivers:
- Accessing the Internet while on a cellphone increased to 18 percent in 2011, from 13 percent in 2009.
- Reading social media networks while driving jumped to 14 percent in 2011, from 9 percent in 2009.
- Updating social networks while driving rose to 13 percent in 2011, from 9 percent in 2009.
Surprisingly, the data showed texting while driving remained flat or decreased in some instances. Among drivers 18 to 29, 64 percent said they texted while driving in 2011, down from 71 percent in 2009. Among all drivers, the number stayed relatively flat at 32 percent in 2011, compared to 31 percent in 2009.
The National Transportation Safety Board recently recommended a nationwide ban on the use of cellphones while driving. State Farm and other car insurance companies have sponsored studies and public information campaigns to raise awareness about the dangers of using cellphones and electronic devices while driving.