Common Ways People Use Smartphones While Driving

Common Ways People Use Smartphones While Driving

by / Tuesday, 26 May 2015 / Published in Motor Vehicle Accidents

Despite widespread efforts to raise awareness of how dangerous it can be to use a cell phone while driving, too many people still can’t seem to resist looking at their phones while behind the wheel. A survey recently released by AT&T revealed that although texting and sending e-mails are still the most common way people use smartphones while driving, people are using their phones for much more than texting on the road.

AT&T’s new survey shows 7 out of 10 smartphone owners use their phones while driving and 4 out of 10 admit to using their phones to post to or check social media while driving. 27% of respondents who use social media while driving said they check Facebook while driving, 14% said they post to Twitter while driving, 14% said they post pictures to Instagram from behind the wheel, and 11% admitted to either viewing or sending pictures and videos on Snapchat. Out of all the people who said they use Twitter while driving, 30% said they do so “all the time.”

One reason some people believe smartphone usage while driving continues to be a major issue despite so many efforts to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving is because people are feeling more and more pressure to be connected at all times. AT&T’s survey found that 62% of respondents said they keep their smartphone within easy reach while they’re driving, such as on their laps, in a cup holder, or on the dashboard. 22% of people who admitted to using social media while driving said they did so because they felt addicted to it.

Other ways people use their smartphones while driving include surfing the Internet (28%), taking selfies and other pictures (17%), shooting videos (12%), and video chatting with another person (10%). 27% of people who said they shoot videos while driving believe it’s okay since they think they can do it safely.

The results of the survey are appalling to many people, including Lori Lee, AT&T’s senior executive vice president for global marketing, who told the New York Times, “One in ten said they do video chat while driving. I don’t even have words for that.” She also called people who use their smartphones while driving, “…an accident waiting to happen.”

AT&T has been doing their part to fight distracted driving through their “It Can Wait” campaign. When the “It Can Wait” campaign launched in 2010, it focused on warning people against texting while driving, but AT&T plans to broaden the campaign to include using smartphones in other ways while driving.

Texting, using social media, and taking pictures or videos while driving are all considered forms of distracted driving. Distracted driving is any activity that takes a driver’s eyes off the road, requires a driver to take their hands off the wheel, or takes the driver’s mind off driving. Using a smartphone while driving is particularly dangerous because it can distract drivers in all three ways. The CDC reports that 9 people are killed and 1,153 people are injured every day as a result of car accidents involving a distracted driver. Drivers under the age of 20 are the most likely to be involved in a fatal car accident caused by distracted driving.

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