According to State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co, nearly half of drivers between the ages of 18 and 29 use the internet behind the wheel, as more people invest in smart phones.
The insurance company cited surveys it conducted, revealing that forty-eight percent of motorists in that age group access the Web while driving, which is up from 29 percent in 2009.
Other insurers like State Farm, the largest seller of auto coverage in the United States, have teamed up with regulators to encourage vehicle operators to increate their focus on safety. According to the U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, 3,092 people were killed and more than 400,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distratced driver in 2010.
“The mobile internet is generating another set of distractions for drivers to avoid,” Chris Mullen, director of technology research at Bloomington, Ill.-based State Farm, said in the statement. “Regulation, enforcement, education and technology all have a role to play.”
Retail sales of Apple Inc.’s iPhone rose 81 percent in 2011 to nearly 72 million units from about 40 million unites a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
This week, the National Transportation Safety Board pronounced the elimination of distracted driving as one of its top challenges for 2013. The board is promoting technology that disables devices when in reach of vehicle operators, including those who operate planes and trains.
Checking social media sites while driving jumped to 36 percent this year from 21 percent in 2009, for drivers 18 to 29, State Farm said. Checking e-mail increased to 43 percent from 32 percent.
State Farm’s latest survey was conducted online in July. Results are based on responses from people who have a driver’s license, own a mobile phone and are behind the wheel at least an hour a week.
Learn more at Auto News.