Survey says 19% of drivers browse the web while behind the wheel

Insurance firm State Farm, in an informal survey of 912 licensed drivers performed in November 2010, found that 19% of respondents say that they browse the web at least once a week while driving their car. If that figure isn’t bone chilling enough they also found that 74% of people take and make calls while driving and 34% have their thumbs busy with text messages, and this is again, at least once a week. What does this say about road safety in America? How important is clicking “like” on a witty status update your friend left on your Facebook wall versus not trying to plow into a tree?

And it gets worse: “That 19% might be underestimating the actual use of smartphones to access the Internet while driving, because the majority of the respondents were in the age range of the 30s,” says Cindy Garretson, Director of Auto Technology Research at State Farm. “The largest users of cellphones tend to be the younger-age population. We would be very interested to know what that number would be if the focus was on the young adult market.”

One of the respondents, 38 year old Sean Black, admits that he checks sports scores and that he knows what he’s doing isn’t the “smartest thing in the world … but I guess I just do it anyway.” Why? The classic “you just don’t think anything’s going to happen” response, because most people somehow thing they’re better than other drivers and less prone to error. Dakota Woodward, a 16 year old from Florida, nearly got into a wreck while fooling around with Facebook. He now says he doesn’t look at his phone anymore, yet he maintains the view that his generation is hyper connected and that they “need to keep in touch all the time.”

Really? Just put the damn phone down. It takes less than 30 minutes to get to your destination, how hard is it to stop fiddling with your phone for 30 damn minutes?!

[Via: Daily Mail]

  • Well that explains all the accidents caused by cell phones. I once read somewhere that alone in the U.S more than 1 trillion messages are sent each year

  • Shoobe01

    “It takes less than 30 minutes to get to your destination”

    What? It takes anywhere from 5 minutes to 3 days for me to get somewhere. What are you taking about?

    A fair amount of the time, I want to check in to make sure I am going the right place. That others will be there, etc. If I wanted to pull over to check my navigation or the text with the new instructions… how do I do this? There’s no place to do it, almost anywhere. Try sometime.

    “Just stop” isn’t gonna cut it, and we need other cultural changes, like adding lots of turnouts, and getting everyone used to pulling off and then merging again without crashing.

    Oh, and BTW, talking on the phone isn’t even mostly illegal. It’s not really of the same taboo level as texting, so try to be less shrill about that figure.

  • Ha, and you know what’s crazy? I think it’s Chevy, I could be wrong, that now has Facebook status updates built into the car itself. Such a brilliant idea, right?

  • Anonymous

    Heck yeah dude, Browse the web, check Facebook, text and check 4chan while driving, all the time!

  • are you kidding? Driving is when I get most of my mobile browsing done.

  • Nic

    It’s not “hitting a tree” that you need to worry about, it’s hitting other human beings: joggers, bicyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians, other people driving cars. It’s disgusting how Americans act like there’s an arms race for the biggest car that will leave them unharmed while they plow into other people distractedly (like the nephew of the Dalai Lama who was hit and killed by a car in Florida recently).

  • AJ

    If 17% of people have smart phones, how are 19% browsing the web while driving?

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