Old Catching Up with the Young

By | November 18, 2013

Cellphone use and texting while driving are on the rise along with accessing the internet while driving — and it’s not just young people engaging in these dangerous activities behind the wheel.

In its annual research report on distracted driving, State Farm found a significant increase in the percentage of drivers who own smartphones, particularly among drivers age 30 and older. But more importantly, the percentage of drivers who access the internet on their phone while driving has nearly doubled over the past five years, going up from 13 percent in 2009 to 24 percent in 2013.

The use of hands-free cellphones while driving has increased, while the percentage of people talking on a hand-held cellphone or texting while driving has become stagnant over the past three years.

“Much attention is paid toward reducing texting while driving, but we must also be concerned about addressing the growing use of multiple mobile web services while driving,” said Chris Mullen, director of Technology Research at State Farm

The percentage of drivers who access the internet on their phone while driving has nearly doubled over the past five years.

While much of the distracted driving focus has been on young people, the data indicate that the percentage of motorists who own smartphones is increasing for all ages:

  • Ages 18-29: 78% in 2011 to 86% in 2013
  • Ages 30-39: 60% in 2011 to 86% in 2013
  • Ages 40-49: 47% in 2011 to 82% in 2013
  • Ages 50-64: 44% in 2011 to 64% in 2013
  • Ages 65+: 23% in 2011 to 39% in 2013

Here’s how drivers rate their own distractions:

  • Hand-held cell phone: very distracting – 34%, somewhat distracting – 46%
  • Hands-free cell phone: very distracting – 14%, somewhat distracting – 43%
  • Sending a text while driving: very distracting – 76%, somewhat distracting – 14%
  • Reading a text while driving: very distracting – 62%, somewhat distracting – 27%
  • Talking with a passenger: very distracting – 4%, somewhat distracting – 41%
  • Reaching for a non-moving object: very distracting – 22%, somewhat distracting – 62%
  • Attending to children in the back seat: very distracting – 41%, somewhat distracting – 29%
  • Pet in lap: very distracting – 53%, somewhat distracting – 20%

About Andrea Wells

Andrea Wells is a veteran insurance editor and Editor-in-Chef of Insurance Journal Magazine. More from Andrea Wells

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Insurance Journal West November 18, 2013
November 18, 2013
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