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'Webbing' while driving on the rise
By Insure.com staff

Texting isn't the only high-tech driving distraction creating danger on U.S. roads. More drivers than ever are using their smartphones to access the Internet while driving, according to new research from State Farm.

"The mobile Internet is generating another set of distractions for drivers to avoid," Chris Mullen, State Farm's director of technology research, said in a press statement. "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."

Among drivers ages 18 to 29:

  • Forty-eight percent admitted using their phones to access the Internet while driving, compared to 29 percent in 2009.
  • Thirty-six percent admitted checking Facebook or other social media networks while driving, compared to 21 percent in 2009.
  • Thirty percent said they updated social networks while driving, up from 20 percent in 2009.
  • Forty-three percent said they checked email while driving, up from 32 percent in 2009.
A smaller share of older drivers report "webbing" while driving. Among all drivers:
  • Twenty percent reported accessing the Internet while driving, compared to 13 percent in 2009.
  • Fifteen percent reported reading social media networks while driving, up from 9 percent in 2009.
  • Thirteen percent said they updated social networks while driving, compared to 9 percent in 2009.
Most drivers (72 percent) said they strongly agree with laws prohibiting texting or emailing while driving. A smaller share, 45 percent, said they are extremely likely to support technology that would prevent texting or talking on a cell phone while driving.

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