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Distracted driving trends affecting motorist safety right now

Most American motorists are now aware of the fact that distracted driving is dangerous. In recent years, a host of educational campaigns, anti-distraction laws and other efforts aimed at reducing cellphone use while driving have received extensive media coverage. As a result, avoiding the message that distracted driving is dangerous is nearly impossible. Despite these efforts, it seems that distracted driving behaviors are more pervasive than ever.

State Farm conducts a distracted driving survey on an annual basis. Since 2009, this annual survey has helped to track the prevalence of distracted driving behaviors across the U.S. Over the past five years, fewer drivers have reported that they talk on a handheld cellphone while driving. This is a positive development. However, the percentage of drivers who admit to texting while driving has not decreased and the percentage of drivers who admit to accessing the Internet behind the wheel has doubled.

Distracted behavior of any kind increases the likelihood of motor vehicle accidents. However, accessing the Internet to check email, surf the web, update social media and engage in other activities is particularly distracting. Talking on a handheld cellphone compels drivers to take their minds off the task of driving and to take one hand off the steering wheel. Accessing the Internet compels drivers to take their minds, eyes and hands off the task of driving.

Many motorists clearly believe that they can safely engage in distracting activities while driving. However, evidence does not support this perception. Please, if you engage in distracted driving activities, consider reforming your approach immediately.

Source: USA Today, “Drivers talk on cell phones less but surf, e-mail more,” Larry Copeland, Nov. 18, 2014

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