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U.S. Drivers Dangerously Distracted
Thursday, December 1st, 2011

A new poll confirms what you probably know but don’t want to think about: a large majority of drivers admit to being dangerously distracted while behind the wheel.

Conducted by the Harris Poll, the survey includes data from more than 2,800 adults.

  • A full 86% admitted to eating/drinking at some point, and 57% said they do it frequently.
  • Are you sending texts while driving? More than 33% of drivers admit to texting.  
  • 14% have applied makeup – 7% say they do it frequently (hopefully, only at stoplights).  
  • 13 % say they surf the internet while driving, but more alarming is the 7% who say they "often or sometimes” watch videos while driving.

In 2009, nearly 5,500 people died and another 450,000 sustained serious injuries in automobile accidents related to distracted driving.

DAmore_Law_Group_Distracted_Driving"Despite all of the attention paid to cell phone distractions in the past few years, this survey highlights the broader problem that drivers do a lot of things behind the wheel that distract them…People have driven distracted long before there were cell phones" said Russ Rader, spokesperson for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

 

Rader points out that while technology has helped create new driving hazards, it may also help to minimize the risks.  "Crash-avoidance technologies" like automatic braking systems could help prevent collisions when the driver in front of you suddenly slams on the brakes.

The full results of the survey are available here. Learn more about the dangers of distracted driving from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Photo courtesy of graur razvan ionut.

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