Survey: 19% of people report using Internet while driving

Mar 3, 2011

Results from an online survey conducted by State Farm show what the insurance company said is “an alarming number” of drivers who use the Web while driving.

In November, 2010, State Farm conducted a small “pulse check” to dig deeper into the growing use of smartphones among drivers. Survey respondents consisted of 912 drivers who met the following criteria: had a valid driver’s license, reported driving at least one hour per week and owned a smart phone.

Of these drivers, 19% admitted to using the Internet while driving. The top five Web-based activities they engaged in included:

  • Finding/reading driving directions
  • Reading e-mail
  • Looking up/referencing specific information of immediate interest
  • Looking at/reading social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • Composing/sending email

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

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, State Farm said it will conduct an in-depth and comprehensive study to learn more about smart phone use among young drivers.

“We are very interested in learning more about the growing trend of using the Web while driving,” said Cindy Garretson, director of Auto Technology Research at 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.”