4 of 10 Americans hit or nearly hit by distracted drivers

Jul 7, 2010

U.S. drivers say they are seeing first-hand the danger of driving while distracted (DWD). A new public opinion poll conducted by Harris Interactive for Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. shows nearly four out of 10 (38%) drivers say they have been hit or nearly hit by a driver distracted by their cell phone.

“As car makers continue to provide in-car technologies – including video, TV and Internet – a good percentage of Americans are going to misuse these devices”

The telephone survey of 1,004 adults conducted in June confirms Americans’ increasing use of smart phone applications is creating new distractions behind the wheel in addition to talking on the phone and texting while driving.

According to a previous DWD survey (conducted for Nationwide by Harris Interactive in April, 2010), among the millions of Americans who download mobile applications for smart phones, more than one in four admit to using those apps while driving. The cell phone apps most used while driving are ones that allow drivers to access GPS, send and receive e-mail, search the Internet, and read and post messages on Facebook and Twitter.

Technological distractions while driving are not just cell phone related. According to the new survey, nearly four out of 10 drivers have vehicles with built-in technology – including DVD player or video monitor (17%), music search (14%), capability to make phone calls (13%), GPS (13%) and Internet access (2%).

Of those who have these devices, 82% of drivers use the music search feature, 85% use the DVD/video monitor, 91% use GPS and 68% use the phone capability.