Valentines Alert: Steer Clear of Romance Behind the Wheel

Nearly one-third of American drivers smooch or engage in other romantic contact while they’re behind the wheel. That’s throughout the year, not just on Valentine’s Day, according to a new poll.

Twenty-nine percent of drivers surveyed for the InsuranceQuotes.com poll acknowledge they’ve been amorous behind the wheel. That number climbs to 39 percent for highly educated drivers (at least a bachelor’s degree) and high-income drivers (at least $75,000 in annual earnings).

“Kissing your Valentine while you’re driving certainly can be fun, but it also can be dangerous,” said John Egan, managing editor of InsuranceQuotes.com.

Egan said federal statistics show that 16 percent of fatal crashes in 2009 were attributed to distracted driving.

The poll, conducted for InsuranceQuotes.com by GfK Roper, shows how universal distracted driving has become: 93 percent of drivers report they engage in it somehow, whether by texting, talking on a cell phone — even kissing.