New research from State Farm shows that though texting while driving remains a concern on the nation’s highways, drivers are accessing other mobile web services at much higher rates.

These behaviors may pose equal or greater concerns in the battle against distracted driving.

In a new survey of nearly 900 motorists, the company found that use of mobile web services has increased dramatically over the last two years.

For drivers 18-29:

    --  Accessing the internet while on a cell phone while driving increased
        from 29 percent in 2009 to 43 percent in 2011.
    --  Reading social media networks while driving increased from 21 percent in
        2009 to 37 percent in 2011.
    --  Updating social networks while driving increased from 20 percent in 2009
        to 33 percent in 2011.

“Calls from the NTSB and others to ban cell phones are focusing now on both texting and web use while driving. The mobile web is a growing issue for safety advocates concerned about distractions while driving,” said David Beigie, State Farm Public Affairs Vice President. “Additionally, while the focus has been on young people, the data also indicates that motorists of all ages are increasing their use of the mobile web while driving.”

For all drivers, the data showed:

    --  Accessing the internet while on a cell phone increased from 13 percent
        in 2009 to 18 percent in 2011.
    --  Reading social media networks while driving increased from 9 percent in
        2009 to 14 percent in 2011.
    --  Updating social networks while driving increased from 9 percent in 2009
        to 13 percent in 2011.

Ironically, the study showed that use of texting while driving was remaining flat or decreasing in some instances:

    --  For drivers 18-29, 71 percent said they engaged in texting while driving
        in 2009.  That number dropped to 64 percent in 2011.
    --  For all drivers this number stayed relatively flat coming in at 31
        percent in 2009 compared to 32 percent in 2011.

 

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