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Drivers Distracted by Web Surfing

Smart phones enable additional distractions while driving that can cause serious accidents. Talking on a cell phone in New York requires a hands-free system, and texting while driving is also banned. Yet there are other forms of distractions: visual, auditory, manual and cognitive. Whether it’s looking at something besides the road; listening to conversation, the radio, music, or an audio book; fiddling with the radio or an iPod rather than holding onto the steering wheel; or thinking about things unrelated to driving – all are distractions that are particularly dangerous for novice drivers. A distracted driver is involved in 15 – 30 percent of all car accidents.

The latest distraction to surface as a result of smart phones is surfing the web while driving. In a 2012 study conducted by State Farm Insurance, some shocking statistics were revealed. For those drivers 18 – 29 years old, accessing the Internet while driving increased from 29 percent  in 2009 to 48 percent  in 2012. Older drivers, of course, are far less likely to be surfing, if only because they are less dependent upon their phones. Among younger drivers, 36 percent read social media networks while behind the wheel and another 30 percent even update their profiles while driving. Checking email has also increased among younger drivers, rising from 32 percent in 2009 to 43 percent  in 2012.

The Governors Highway Safety Association has published ten tips to avoid distractions.  Share these tips with loved ones, especially new and young drivers. The number one tip: turn off or silence your cell phone when getting into the car. An estimated 5,870 people died and another 515,000 were injured in car accidents involving some form of distraction in 2008, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Don’t become a statistic. And if you are the victim of a distracted driver, seek skilled legal guidance right away.