People who text or make mobile phone calls while driving have long been considered reckless and irresponsible, but there is another breed of driver that makes this group look positively angelic – those that use their mobile phones to surf the Web whilst in control of a moving vehicle.
According to a study by US insurance firm State Farm, 48 per cent of American 18- to 29-year olds have admitted to ‘webbing’, or surfing the Internet while driving, in 2012 – a huge increase on the 29 per cent that admitted to doing so in 2009. In other words, if you see a young person behind the wheel, there’s a fifty-fifty chance they’re on their mobile phone, googling cat memes, Tweeting or reading this article instead of watching where they’re going.
Predictably, social media sites are among the biggest distractions. Young drivers logging into Facebook and Twitter while driving increased from 21 per cent in 2009 to a whopping 36 per cent in 2012, according to the study.
Though young drivers are the worst offenders, older motorists aren’t averse to a bit of mobile mobile internet. In-car Web use amongst those above the age of 29 increased from 13 per cent in 2009 to 21 per cent in 2012, with use of social media over 29s increasing from nine per cent to 15 per cent in 2012.
“The mobile Internet is generating another set of distractions for drivers to avoid. While the safety community is appropriately working to reduce texting while driving, we must also be concerned about the growing use of multiple mobile Web services while driving,” Chris Mullen, director of technology research at State Farm, said in a statement.
Are you one of the guilty ones? Are you reading this in your car right now? Pull over and let us know in the comments below.