Back in November of last year, State Farm started what it calls a "pulse check" to delve deeper into the growing use of smartphones among drivers. A total of 912 people were polled, but only after it was validated that they met the following criteria: had a valid driver's license, reported driving at least one hour per week, and owned a smart phone.
19 percent admitted to using the Internet while driving. The top five Web-based activities that they engaged in were:
- Finding/reading driving directions,
- Reading email,
- Looking up/referencing specific information of immediate interest,
- Looking at/reading social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
- Composing/sending email
About 40 percent of the US population currently owns a smartphone, predominantly young adults. Thus, the risk of crashes associated with phone use while driving is high. State Farm has pledged to make an in-depth and comprehensive study to learn more about smart phone use among young drivers.
"We are very interested in learning more about the growing trend of using the Web while driving," said Cindy Garretson, Director of Auto Technology Research at State Farm. "We are working to prevent crashes and save lives, and this research takes us one step closer to understanding the driver distractions that affect everyone on our roadways."