We write a lot about distracted driving, and what time of year can be more distracting than the holidays? Not only are we in a hurry to get our shopping done, but we are trying to coordinate holiday events for ourselves, our spouses and our kids. Then we get back in the car to drive to a relative's for a holiday get-together. The hustle and bustle of the holidays is enough of a distraction without adding technology to the mix.
State Farm recently released its annual survey of U.S. drivers, and it seems that smartphones are adding new levels of distraction on the roads. We used to worry about talking, then we worried about texting. Now, we have to worry about drivers who are accessing the Internet while driving, too.
According to the survey, 21 percent of drivers -- that's about 1 in 5 -- admit to accessing the Internet on a cellphone in the past year. Three years ago, only 13 percent said they had webbed behind the wheel. Worse, not only are they reading social media, they are also updating their status on Facebook and other sites. In 2009, just 9 percent said they'd done both; this year, 15 percent read social media and 13 percent updated their pages or status.
Mobile access and mobile devices have improved so much over the past few years that consumers are reluctant to do without. The problem, of course, is that webbing takes a driver's eyes off the road and, at times, hands off the wheel.
One positive note: 45 percent of survey respondents said they would favor technology that would prevent cellphone use while driving -- well, prevent texting or talking, at least.
Source: UPI.com, "One-in-5 admit to 'webbing' while driving," Nov. 19, 2012
Our firm works with clients who have been injured in accidents caused by a distracted driver. You can learn more about our Huntsville, Alabama, practice by visiting the motor vehicle accidents page of our website.
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