Distractions while driving come in all shapes and sizes: text messages, phone calls, Internet, radio dials, television screens, video games, screaming children, attractive fellow motorists and passersby, etc. It's amazing in this day and age that we ever actually get from Point A to Point B.

In an effort to investigate the increasing number of distractions in the faces of drivers, State Farm conducted an online survey to find out how many drivers would admit to using the Internet while driving.

Last November, the insurer polled 912 drivers who had a valid driver's license, reported driving at least one hour per week and owned a smartphone.

Of these drivers, 19% admitted to using the Internet while driving.

The top five Web-based activities they engage in are:

1. Finding/reading driving directions

2. Reading e-mail

3. Looking up/referencing specific information of immediate interest

4. Looking at/reading social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

5. Composing/sending e-mail

Most respondents who said they use the Internet while driving reported that they engage in these activities when stopped at traffic lights or in heavy traffic. They also commonly said they access the Internet when driving alone, during daylight hours or during long highway drives.

State Farm goes on to say that approximately 40% of the U.S. population owns a smartphone. Considering the growth of smartphone use among young adults and the risk of crashes associated with phone use while driving, the insurer says it plans to conduct an in-depth, comprehensive study to learn more about smartphone use among young drivers.

“We are very interested in learning more about the growing trend of using the Web while driving," says Cindy Garretson, director of auto technology research, 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.”

Vorro writes for Insurance Network News, a SourceMedia publication.Follow EBN on: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Podcasts

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