Is browsing while driving the new thing?

While we’ve put a lot of emphasis over the last year on banning texting while driving, it seems the average driver is also distracted by having access to the Internet on a cell phone. 

According to a new survey from State Farm Insurance that looked at the habits of 912 smartphone users, more than 19% of them admitted to using the Internet while driving.  For comparison purposes, 74% of them reported making or receiving calls while driving and 35% of them said they exchange text messages at least once a week.

Many activities were reported when browsing while driving: reading and composing e-mails, browsing through social websites like Twitter or Facebook, finding/reading driving directions, or searching and reading other websites.

“That 19 percent might be underestimating the actual use of smart phones to access the Internet while driving, because the majority of the respondents were in the age range of the 30s,” said Cindy Garretson, director of auto technology research at State Farm.  “We’re interested in learning more about the growing trend of using the Web while driving.  This research takes us one step closer to understanding the driver distractions that affect everyone on our roadways.” 

An estimated 40% of Americans use a smartphone

Source: USA Today, March 2, 2011

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