A survey of drivers about things that distract them finds some alarming trends continuing to worsen.
Holly Anderson, spokeswoman for State Farm, Iowa’s largest auto insurer, points to growing dangers behind the wheel as cell phones take our eyes, hands and minds off of driving.
“The two things that stood out this year are that more people are taking photos with their phones and also they’re taking video while they’re driving,” Anderson says. “So those are two major concerns.”
Nearly all drivers, 91-percent, report owning a smartphone and half say they use them while driving. She says motorists need to use the “two and two” rule, two hands on the wheel, two eyes on the road.
“We don’t want people to be using their handheld phones while they’re driving,” Anderson says. “Fifty percent of the 1,000 people we surveyed say they are still doing that. People are also still texting while driving. Texting while driving is actually taking your eyes off the road so that also continues to be a concern.” Using a hands-free device is equally as distracting as a handheld phone, she says, as it takes your mind away from focusing on driving. This is the 8th year for the survey and Anderson says another clear trend is that parents have a significant influence over their kids, noting, kids will pick up their parents’ driving habits, good or bad.
“We know that kids are watching what their parents are doing so if you are a parent, it’s really important that you’re setting those habits now,” Anderson says. “If you’re putting your phone down, we know that your 16-year-old is likely not to text and drive.”
The survey of drivers found: 50% talk on a hand-held phone, 35% text while driving, 29% access the internet while driving, 26% read email behind the wheel, 21% respond to email, 22% access social networks, 23% take pictures, 14% record video, 93% talk to passengers, 23% attend to children and 21% attend to pets in the car. Survey respondents reported using smartphones while driving despite finding them distracting and despite thinking the behavior increases the likelihood of a crash.