Driving is an activity that should not be taken lightly; on the contrary, it demands 100 percent of your attention at all times. Yet distracted driving, which according to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood accounted for 3,092 deaths and 400,000 injuries in road accidents in 2010, is becoming something of an epidemic.
A report from insurance company State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance, the largest seller of auto coverage in the country, says that an astounding 48 percent of drivers aged between 18 and 30 access the Internet while driving!
This has been made possible by the rapid expansion of mobile devices, such as smartphones, which younger users use while behind the wheel. For example, sales of Apple’s iPhone increased by 81 percent last year compared to 2010, to 72 million units.
State Farm’s survey, which was conducted in July, showed that reading social media while driving has increased from 21 percent in 2011 to 36 percent this year for drivers aged 18 to 29 and checking email from 32 to 43 percent.
And all this, despite the fact that, in 35 states and DC, using handheld cellphones while driving is illegal. For the past two years, the DoT has been looking for a software solution to disable cellphone use while driving, and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is pushing for a total ban of every mobile device in all 50 states.
“The mobile internet is generating another set of distractions for drivers to avoid”, said director of technology research at State Farm Chris Mullen. “Regulation, enforcement, education and technology all have a role to play”.
Story References: State Farm via Bloomberg