Another form of distracted driving: Webbing and driving

Distracted driving seems to be everywhere these days. Despite public campaigns to educate the public on the dangers of distracted driving, new forms of distraction continually pop-up especially as technology changes. The popularization of smartphones has led to another form of distracted driving, webbing and driving. Webbing and driving is when a driver surfs the Internet while behind the wheel. Surprisingly or perhaps unsurprisingly, a significant number of drivers check the Web as they commute.

According to an unscientific online survey conducted by State Farm Insurance about one in five drivers surfs the Internet while driving at least one time per week. The informal survey was conducted in November and included the responses of 912 drivers. The results of the survey have prompted State Farm to conduct a scientific one. In comparison, to other forms of cell phone distracted driving, people web and drive the least. Nearly, three-quarters of respondents admitted to using the phone while driving at least once per week and over one-third admitted to texting and driving.

Researchers suspect the results of the study were understated because many of the unscientific survey’s participants were in their 30s. Experts believe that if the study had a more rounded age representation that included young drivers, the percentage of people who web and drive would increase. Even though researchers believe that young drivers are more likely to web and drive than older drivers, seasoned drivers who surf the Internet may already have hardened habits.

An interview with a 30-something, non-profit communications coordinator revealed the only way he would stop webbing and driving would be if he got in a car accident or a near-crash situation. Admitting the practice is not “the smartest thing in the world,” the driver still remains complacent in his behavior.

Source: USA Today, “Nineteen percent admit Web use while driving,” Larry Copeland, 3/2/11

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