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Nearly 1 In 4 Adults Surf the Web While Driving

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the get-off-my-roads dept.

Cellphones 365

cartechboy writes "A new survey out this week says that the number of motorists who surf the Web has nearly doubled over the past four years. In 2009, 13 percent of motorists admitted that they'd accessed the Internet while driving. In 2013, that figure had jumped to 24 percent. Smartphones are the primary culprit, making the unsafe task even easier. Other distracted driving behavior is on the rise, too, and younger drivers are the biggest issue — 76 percent of motorists 18 to 29 said that they talked on a hand-held cell phone while driving. 70 percent said they were texting. Keep in mind we have states legislating smartphone use task by task, which clearly doesn't help."

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365 comments

Kill them all (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416491)

do it

Re:Kill them all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416919)

no your all fuckin idots.

I do this (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416493)

Posting AC for legal reasons...

I've been doing this since I got a smart phone in 2008. No accidents so far so maybe it's not that dangerous (or I'm really lucky?). Stop and go traffic and traffic lights are a good time to check Slashdot.

Re:I do this (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416651)

Great, you're only a nuisance instead of a threat. God forbid you spend a single moment of your life not feeling entertained.

Re:I do this (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 5 months ago | (#45417059)

I don't do it in town, but for longer roadtrips, I have a bracket that holds my old Motorola Xoom just down below the window line, and with Verizon 4G, I can stream entertainment...mostly for the passenger (2-seater car), and as the driver, I mostly listen...but it is something nice for long trips.

If a trooper happens to pull near me, I can quickly flip it to Google Maps or something....

Re:I do this (1)

LordNimon (85072) | about 5 months ago | (#45416805)

If you're car is not moving, then technically you're not driving. Granted, the DUI laws disagree, but common sense does not.

Re:I do this (5, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | about 5 months ago | (#45416875)

If you're car is not moving, then technically you're not driving.

If you're on a road, you're driving. If you're in a parking lot or in your driveway, sure. But if you're sitting at an intersection and believe you're not driving, you've lost the plot.

Show of hands, how many of us have had to honk at the motorist in front of us when the light changes because they're still fiddling with their phone? I have to at least 2-3 times a week, and I don't drive more than 5-6 times in an average week.

Re:I do this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416999)

Show of hands, how many of us have had to honk at the motorist in front of us when the light changes because they're still fiddling with their phone? I have to at least 2-3 times a week, and I don't drive more than 5-6 times in an average week.

I don't have a huge amount of problem with this. It's a minor annoyance, not an accident, and sometimes it's very useful to be able to very quickly look something up or send a text. So long as you're not moving, and the moment you need to move the phone gets put down.

Re:I do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45417175)

Sorry I try to keep both my hands on the wheel at all times

Re:I do this (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 5 months ago | (#45416877)

If the car is running, in gear (ie not in park), and you're behind the wheel, then you're driving whether or not the vehicle is in motion.

Re:I do this (2)

CubicleZombie (2590497) | about 5 months ago | (#45416983)

In Virginia, you're "driving" if the keys are in the ignition, even if the engine is off.

So if you're responsibly sleeping off your buzz before heading home, DO NOT turn on the radio or you'll get a DUI.

Re:I do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45417083)

In PA, if you are behind the wheel, keys or not you can get a DUI. Also, if you have keys on your person and are in the vicinity of your vehicle, you can get a DUI. To be fair, however, you can get a DUI without being intoxicated at all. "Oh, you failed to turn on your turn signal and your eyes are bloodshot because your boyfriend just broke up with you? INCAPABLE OF SAFE DRIVING. DUI. FOR. YOU."

Re:I do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416945)

The guy behind you agrees -- you're not driving. *honk*

Re:I do this (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 5 months ago | (#45416829)

This was exactly my thought... there is nothing here to indicate this is an actual problem and not just yet another imaginary issue. We already have seen that the same people who get in accidents while using phones, get in accidents without them at similar rates. So the phone use isn't the cause.

We also know those same people, a subset of the population, manage risk badly, and choose to use their phone in more dangerous situations than most other people. So likely... the majority of the "I do this" people, are like you, and a small minority are those same idiots who were going to cause an accident having an argument on the phone or messing with their radio dial while driving full speed in heavy traffic and tailgating.

Re:I do this (1)

ZigiSamblak (745960) | about 5 months ago | (#45416847)

I finally understand the connection between Google and self steering cars!

More time to surf the internets if you don't have to steer at all.

Re:I do this (2)

CubicleZombie (2590497) | about 5 months ago | (#45417075)

Solution: Require that drivers use their smartphones during their drivers test.

And fiddle with the radio. And eat a burger. Etc.

More laws aren't going to keep us from doing this. It'll just mean more distraction checking for cops before calling/texting/web/etc. Same with speed limits. When it goes from 65 to 55, nobody slows down. Now 50% of our attention goes to watching for radar traps.

How about increasing the penalties for causing a crash? I'm sick of hearing about someone who kills another driver and makes 20,000 people late for work getting a $50 "Failure to yield" ticket.

Re:I do this (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45417143)

Hand your licence back and fucking walk you irresponsible dickhead

Survival of the smartest (2)

Darth Twon (2832799) | about 5 months ago | (#45416495)

Unfortunately when people go out while texting/talking/surfing they tend to take other people with them. If we could just figure out a way to just do away with them, then we'd be golden!

Bullshit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416497)

A self selecting survey clearly loaded with piss-takers deliberately entering crap answers is not reality.

Google Cars (5, Insightful)

invid (163714) | about 5 months ago | (#45416507)

All the more reason why we need to get autonomous cars on the road.

Re:Google Cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416593)

Self-driving cars will destroy the radio industry. Think about it.

Re:Google Cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416871)

Self-driving cars will destroy the radio industry. Think about it.

And nothing of value was lost.

Re:Google Cars (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 5 months ago | (#45416645)

That was my very first thought on the issue, but the loss of revenue from traffic violations will have a dramatic effect on local municipalities and the insurance industry. I expect much resistance.

Re:Google Cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416741)

Money that can be better spent on better things. If your police force needs cash from tickets then they are under funded or over spending or both. Insurance companies are leaches who you are gambling with.

Not quite this but almost...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_broken_window

Re:Google Cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416873)

Not just tickets. Seizures. Almost every place in the US has zero tolerance civil forfeiture laws where a city or county can confiscate a vehicle if there is any marijuana in it, even if the police officer has to provide it.

Even without planting evidence, it is like winning the lotto because a good number of impounded vehicles end up at auction.

So, done right with 1-2 seizures a day, it can add up to six to seven digits of income for the city/county over time.

Re:Google Cars (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 5 months ago | (#45417115)

Not just tickets. Seizures. Almost every place in the US has zero tolerance civil forfeiture laws where a city or county can confiscate a vehicle if there is any marijuana in it, even if the police officer has to provide it.

Even without planting evidence, it is like winning the lotto because a good number of impounded vehicles end up at auction.

So, done right with 1-2 seizures a day, it can add up to six to seven digits of income for the city/county over time.

I swear, I'd LOVE to be able to sneak up to some of the local Police cars and alter the motto they have on them to something more realistic:

To Collect, and Serve...

surcharges aren't a profit center for auto ins.... (2)

Shakrai (717556) | about 5 months ago | (#45416959)

I work in the insurance industry, and you seriously misread their motivation. Surcharges for violations are not a profit source for the industry, far from it. They exist to try and equalize the risk associated with bad drivers and if you crunch the numbers on premiums vs. claims you'll find that they barely manage to break even on some of these drivers even with the surcharges. Additionally, it takes at least two small violations or one really big one (speeding >25mph, reckless driving, DWI, fleeing an officer, etc.) before the surcharges even start in most jurisdictions. The first minor violation is a mulligan in every jurisdiction I've ever worked, with every carrier I've ever represented.

Another point to consider is that a lot of drivers with violations will slip through the cracks and never get surcharged. Most insurance carriers do not run your license at each renewal, since they pay a fee to DMV for each report they request. It's a randomized process, occurring every X+[random fudge factor] number of renewals. Some events (coverage changes, moving) will trip a report regardless of how long it has been since the last one, though this is carrier specific and each has its own way of handling such occurrences.

You aren't obligated to report violations to your insurance company either. You can't lie to them if they ask (as they will on an application for new business) but you're under no obligation to volunteer the information during your policy period or even at renewal in most states. If you get a conviction the safest thing to do is nothing. Don't make any coverage changes, don't shop for new insurance, just pay your renewal when it comes and keep your mouth shut. The odds are good it falls off your drivers license before they run your report, and even if they do find it you've got a better than 50/50 shot at it happening towards the end of the surcharging period. Surcharges aren't retroactive, if they surcharge for 36 months (typical for minor violations) but don't find out about it until 30 months after the fact you're only going to be on the hook for one policy period.

Re:Google Cars (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416987)

All the more reason why we need to get autonomous cars on the road.

I wonder who the first person was? (1)

Danathar (267989) | about 5 months ago | (#45416511)

Probably somebody back in the Mid 90's?

Re:I wonder who the first person was? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 5 months ago | (#45416683)

My Nextel Motorola i700 phone with an LCD had a primitive text based browser (by primitive I mean Lynx put it to shame) back in 2000. We used to use it to cheat at^W^Wverify the judges on trivia night. I'm sure someone had something with similar functionality years before that.

The really cool thing about that phone was using it to 'tether', via a serial cable, at 9600 baud to my dial-up ISP back home. It was good enough to ssh into the boxes at work for administration purposes. You could even surf the web in a semi-usable fashion if you turned off images (or had a LOT of patience).

As many as 1 in 4 adults (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 5 months ago | (#45416515)

As many as 1 in 4 adults should never have made it to adulthood, with the clearly disabled mental faculties. To bad driving is a case where the dumb shit you do is as likely to kill an innocent person on the road as yourself. It's like vaccines really, there aren't enough consequences on the people doing the harm.

Re:As many as 1 in 4 adults (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416631)

Not sure what you meant about vaccines, but the rest of what you said makes sense.

Realize, however, that the modern day puts high demands on people to stay connected and respond quickly (both from work and from social lives). The world moves ever more quickly, so people need to scramble to keep up, and staying offline for an entire car drive can be problematic.

This does not apply to everyone, and it does not justify unsafe driving for anyone. But it is the reality we face.

The self-driving car is the answer. Until then, more laws are just more fussing with little effect.

Re:As many as 1 in 4 adults (2)

snoopyowns (963875) | about 5 months ago | (#45416673)

If only we could get the government to create some sort of area to the side of the road so people can pull over and take care of whatever they need to do.....

Re:As many as 1 in 4 adults (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 5 months ago | (#45416811)

If I take the vaccine I will not get the disease. However, most vaccines that a rare occurrence of really nasty side effects. However, on average, I am better off taking the vaccine.

But there is an alternative – the herd effect. If part of the population is vaccinated the disease has a hard time jumping from host to host because the chain of transfer is broken too often. Sometimes a vaccination rate as low as 1/3 of the population will do the trick.

So we have an issue of the Free Rider Effect. As long as everybody else takes the vaccine the chance of me being exposed to the disease and contracting is low. Of course if everybody did this then the whole thing would collapse.

Re:As many as 1 in 4 adults (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416967)

If I take the vaccine I will not get the disease.

Not so. It is less likely that you will get the disease. The typical saying is that you are better off to be the only unvaccinated person in a vaccinated population, than the only vaccinated person in an unvaccinated population.

Re:As many as 1 in 4 adults (5, Insightful)

ah.clem (147626) | about 5 months ago | (#45416977)

The world moves ever more quickly, so people need to scramble to keep up, and staying offline for an entire car drive can be problematic.

I submit that this is just an excuse for a lack of self-control and/or a feeling of self-importance/self-indulgence. It is entirely possible to hold a position of high responsibility, do an hour commute each way to a tech job and NEVER turn on your phone. It is even possible to go to the theater, the philharmonic, out to dinner, have drinks with friends, or even read a book with your phone off. Really.

If you seriously subscribe to this notion then I think you have sold your life too cheaply.

Re:As many as 1 in 4 adults (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45417071)

But but but......self driving cars are AWESOME! If this deadly social trend can be spun to increase the urgency (and hence the haste) of the delivery of self driving cars, then spin it we must!

Re:As many as 1 in 4 adults (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45417127)

I disagree. I think it is more a belief that these behaviors are "no big deal" and rules against them are only meant for the idiots (who are always someone else).

People are bombarded with propaganda about how awesome smartphones are, how you need the latest model, on the fastest network, with the clearest, biggest screen, and how they will enhance every facet of your existence. The idea that they could ever be "bad", or should ever be ignored or turned off is probably anathema to many people.

This is a great analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416751)

I've long made this point -- that people who text while driving are basically the equivalent of parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. It's thoughtless and stupid behavior that should weed itself out of the gene pool, but all too often can (and does) cause collateral damage.

If this was a purely karmic and equitable world, and if there was a way to ensure that the people who engage in distracted driving only killed themselves, and if only the children of the anti-vax parents perished from long-vanquished diseases, then we could light up a big cigar, pour out a cocktail, sit back, and enjoy the show.

Unfortunately, we don't live in that world.

Re:This is a great analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45417033)

It is not the children of the anti-vax crowd who are to blame, it is their parents. So in a just or karmic world, it would be those same parents who suffer the consequences of their decisions, and not the innocent children.

Also, I find it hard to criticize people who only use their handheld devices in their car when the car is stopped (at a light or otherwise). I do not do this myself, but I also do not consider it to be reckless. I think the backlash against drivers who text should focus on those who do it while actually driving, since these are the people who actually cause accidents and jeopardize the safety of others.

Re:This is a great analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45417149)

It is not the children of the anti-vax crowd who are to blame, it is their parents. So in a just or karmic world, it would be those same parents who suffer the consequences of their decisions, and not the innocent children.

Oh, I agree with this completely. The problem is that it's kind of hard to get parents to die from diseases that their children have. On the other hand, you could certainly make the case that their children dying certainly counts as suffering the consequences of their decisions. But yeah, either way, it sucks for the kids. However, we dare not question the wisdom of Jenny McCarthy.

Re:As many as 1 in 4 adults (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416927)

Well, look at the bright side, 75% of adults don't browse while driving. So, humanity is literally not half bad, despite the lack of consequences.

Re:As many as 1 in 4 adults (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 5 months ago | (#45417039)

But I'm given to understand that even some of that 75% have different political opinions from me. How is that redeemable?! HOW?!

Re:As many as 1 in 4 adults (3)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 5 months ago | (#45417111)

It's more a matter of a situation where the penalty doesn't always occur but when it does it can be deadly.

Suppose you make a trip in your car while surfing the web with your phone and don't have a problem. In your brain, it seems as if surfing the web while driving has no consequences so you keep doing it. Fifty trips later and still nothing happens and your brain has cemented this as a "truth." Unfortunately, on that fifty-first trip, you run over a pedestrian crossing the street because you were too busy loading Cute-Kitten-Photos.com to notice that your light was red or you smash into the car in front of you because you didn't notice that they braked since your eyes were on a news article loading on your screen.

Mix this in with young people's* view of "I'm indestructible! Nothing bad can ever happen to me!!!" and you have a dangerous concoction.

* Typing that out made me feel old.

Netflix baby (2)

C0R1D4N (970153) | about 5 months ago | (#45416517)

I burn through my data pretty quick with netflix on my tablet while driving around. Honestly it keeps me from texting =p

Assuming makes an ass out of u... (4, Insightful)

Subject-17 (2790647) | about 5 months ago | (#45416533)

...Since when does "accessing the internet" equate to "surfing the web"? They gave checking emails and surfing the web as examples of accessing the internet, but I'd like to see if "accessing the internet" was the actual question or not. Every single time I drive my phone "accesses the internet". Google play on an android smartphone? Hell yeah that's accessing the internet. Sending a text at a stop light? That's google voice for me, so accessing the internet. Fucking GPS? Yep, accessing the internet once again to get all that sweet, sweet map data. I don't know of anyone who owns a smartphone but doesn't use it for GPS in the car. The only exceptions are those with a dedicated GPS, which, again, accesses the actual internet to download map data, and get routing information.

You shouldn't be texting at stop lights.... (3, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | about 5 months ago | (#45416609)

.... the fact that the light is red does not negate your responsibility to pay attention to your surroundings. From a legal and moral point of view you're operating a motor vehicle on a public roadway regardless of the color of the light, and you have an obligation to give that task your full attention.

The same goes for touching up your cosmetics, reading your snail mail, drinking your coffee, or any of the other items on the huge list of things people do when they're supposed to be devoting their full attention to the safe piloting of a ton or more of steel.

Re: You shouldn't be texting at stop lights.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416773)

I have a pretty good idea of how long the red light lasts (because I drive the same route every single damn day) and if I know I have time, I'll check texts, e-mails, or Facebook. I'll set my phone down before the light changes to green, and I'll be the guy behind you honking if you don't get off your brakes quick enough and start moving, because I AM paying attention, regardless of what you think is possible for me to do while I'm checking my phone. If you have a problem with any of that... well, fuck you, buddy.

Re:You shouldn't be texting at stop lights.... (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 5 months ago | (#45417145)

If the safe operation of a car requires your continuous full attention then perhaps you shouldn't be driving. For the rest of us, we continuously choose what to pay attention to, and how much attention to pay to it, and relegate the rest to peripheral systems. If drinking a coffee was such a hazard then drive throughs and cup-holders would be illegal.

Re:Assuming makes an ass out of u... (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 5 months ago | (#45417079)

Fucking GPS? Yep, accessing the internet once again to get all that sweet, sweet map data.

Or, in my case, accessing sigalert [sigalert.com] to see why traffic is suddenly so backed up.

Agreed. I've been known to "access the Internet" while driving slowly--I have a link on my home screen for sigalert which comes up with my commute route. But that's a bit different than "surfing the web."

first post from the road! (5, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | about 5 months ago | (#45416551)

First post while driving down Interstate 49#`%dAq{%&dkj19Z{`%.NO CARRIER

Re:first post from the road! (4, Funny)

cje (33931) | about 5 months ago | (#45416853)

I realize that you're dead, but you browsed the Internet while driving... on dialup? That's pretty hardcore.

Re:first post from the road! (2)

BoRegardless (721219) | about 5 months ago | (#45416909)

Next the police will use cameras on passing cars where the driver is holding a cellphone in his hands and just mail you the citation. That is so easy today and government in general has shown a delight in catching people, so I don't think it is that far off.

The world is full of bad drivers (5, Funny)

WWJohnBrowningDo (2792397) | about 5 months ago | (#45416555)

24 percent? More like 50 percent. Both of the guys I just passed were staring at their little gadget in zombie-like trance.

Posted from my iPhone.

Deceptive verb form (5, Insightful)

randalotto (1206870) | about 5 months ago | (#45416559)

Saying that "Nearly 1 in 4 adults SURF the web while driving" is very different from the actual results of the survey: "Nearly 1 in 4 adults SURFED the web while driving AT LEAST ONCE IN THE LAST YEAR".

Frankly, I'm surprised the number is so low since they include checking email.

Selfish (5, Insightful)

Tim the Gecko (745081) | about 5 months ago | (#45416573)

Pick a random left turn light in the Bay Area, and look at the driver waiting third or fourth in line. Some of them are very slow to move off when the light goes green, because they are reading or even typing on their smartphone. Then they play catch-up after a cursory look at the road ahead. They rate their entertainment above the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers. It's unbelievably selfish.

Re:Selfish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416745)

Pick a random left turn light in the Bay Area, and look at the driver waiting third or fourth in line. Some of them are very slow to move off when the light goes green, because they are reading or even typing on their smartphone. Then they play catch-up after a cursory look at the road ahead. They rate their entertainment above the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers. It's unbelievably selfish.

This is it exactly. Drivers have a duty to pay attention on the road and keep the ranks tight. There's nothing more frustrating than getting stuck at a light because the driver in front of you took off too late. People have just decided that rush hour is slow so that make it slower with this infernal machines.

I maintain that smart phones appeal to self-centered people. These people believe that they cannot be disconnected for even the shortest time. But you know what? No one cares that you answered a text while driving.

Re:Selfish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45417055)

This is it exactly. Drivers have a duty to pay attention on the road

Agreed

and keep the ranks tight.

Absolutely not. Drivers have a responsibility to stay a safe distance behind the vehicle in front of them, and an expectation not to obstruct the general flow of traffic on a road. Many drivers believe that half a meter is a safe distance at 120kph, and they are nearly as bad as the jackasses texting/tweeting in real-time about the traffic.

Re:Selfish (2)

Princeofcups (150855) | about 5 months ago | (#45417109)

Pick a random left turn light in the Bay Area, and look at the driver waiting third or fourth in line. Some of them are very slow to move off when the light goes green, because they are reading or even typing on their smartphone. Then they play catch-up after a cursory look at the road ahead. They rate their entertainment above the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers. It's unbelievably selfish.

American arrogance plus Californian sense of entitlement leads to some of the worst drivers I've ever seen out here in the Bay Area. They simply do not even recognize that there are other people in the world.

In my day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416591)

In my day, we didn't have these fancy Internet-connected text communicators, so we were safer, as we only masturbated to a sexy calendar while driving... No, we didn't need two hands on the wheel back then either.

BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416617)

How exactly was this study conducted?

As many as 1 in 4 adults should lose their license (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416649)

As many as 1 in 4 adults should lose their license forever.

Gridlock? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416669)

I'll admit to surfing while waiting 10 minutes for a traffic jam to clear up / a light to change. Maybe the poll should specify "while the car you are driving is in motion"?

No way I would do that! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416685)

I'd have to put my beer down, or take both hands off the wheel, and gosh, that would just be awkward. Posted as Anonymous Coward because that is my legal name.

listening to pandora? (2)

I'm not god any more (613402) | about 5 months ago | (#45416699)

What a crap question, "Have you used the internet while driving?"
Stupid sensationalist journalism.
Yes, we use the internet in our car. But, we're not freaking browsing the web.

I'd like to know how they define 'driving' (1)

Christopher McGinnis (2906511) | about 5 months ago | (#45416711)

Does 'driving' mean only while in motion or does it simply mean being behind the wheel even if you are stopped at something such as a red light?

Misleading Statistics (5, Informative)

neonv (803374) | about 5 months ago | (#45416717)

the number of motorists who access the internet (e.g. check email, surf websites, etc.) has nearly doubled over the past four years

This statement implies these people access the internet regularly. However, that's not the question they asked.

13 percent of motorists admitted that they'd accessed the internet while driving

This statement says motorists have accessed the internet at all, meaning at least one time ever in your life, not on a regular basis.

This is a very important distinction that the article glosses over. If I accessed the internet on my phone once 5 years ago, then this survey would call me "one who accesses the internet while driving," which is very misleading. I don't access the internet while driving. The survey should ask something like "have you accessed the internet while driving in the last month." Then the data would be reasonable and give a much better representation of what people do.

Re:Misleading Statistics (1)

codegen (103601) | about 5 months ago | (#45416915)

It also glosses over what accessing the internet means. If I use a google maps with voice directions, I've accessed the internet.

What about map apps? (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | about 5 months ago | (#45416747)

Is that included in surfing the web? I use Google Maps on my iPhone on occasion, does that count?

25% ADMIT to doing it (1)

alta (1263) | about 5 months ago | (#45416779)

I'd say the actual number is somewhere like 75% do it, while maybe 50% do it while in motion.

Or you could be like me, I'm playing games arcade games on my ipad while driving.

Good argument for taking transit (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 5 months ago | (#45416799)

I ride the train into town, more often than not. If we get cut off by a texting driver, it's not a big deal - other than it making us late while the cops do the fatality investigation.

If that happens while I'm on a Metro Transit bus, the bump might make me spill my coffee though.

Re:Good argument for taking transit (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 5 months ago | (#45417165)

The problem with "public transit" can be found in the first of the two words I put in quotes.

People are Stupid! Proof! (1)

turgid (580780) | about 5 months ago | (#45416815)

At last we have concrete proof that a substantial proportion of the adult population are stupid.

I feel so much better for my own prospects, just as long as I and my family can avoid being killed or injured by these ignorant, selfish imbeciles.

Mind you, if this is in America, I suppose it's OK. The roads there are thousands of miles long, as wide as a football pitch, have no corners and are virtually empty. I believe their cars have suspension and steering systems optimised for traveling in straight lines all day long. They don't even have gears and there's cruise control so you might as well point your car at Amarillo, set the cruise control to 55, put your seat back and get a good night's sleep.

Texting vs drunk driving (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416823)

So I have heard that texting while driving is same or worse than driving while drunk in terms of attention and reaction time. So, we have all encouraged (at least here in California by the CHP) to call 911 when we see a suspected drunk driver (which is harder to spot than a texter I might add) but what about calling 911 on a texter? Much easier to prove after the fact right? What do you think? A little too Nazi-esque?

Re:Texting vs drunk driving (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45417025)

I know that I drive a HELL of a lot better drunk than when I'm trying to use my phone. I drive drunk pretty much all the time. Okay, not drunk all the time; but still above 0.00 BAC most of the time and sometimes way over the legal limit. You can't see me having any issues. Straight down the center of the lane. Fast reaction times.

Using a phone? Shit. I avoid it most of the time. Sometimes I do get a heated argument going in text message and I feel compelled to respond while driving. Or trying to look something up in a browser. Or just find a contact. I'll be swerving all over the road, crossing lanes, reaction times go out the window.

Using a phone is WAY worse on the road than the average "drunk driver". And remember, a lot more people are driving around drunk than the statistics say. The stats only cover those that get caught. I'm not included in them. Those that do it most often have a high tolerance and are paying more attention to the road so they don't get pulled over.

Even using voice activation and voice to text features, it still requires too much attention for me to do safely while driving. But I'll still sip on my coffee cup full of vodka and never come close an accident. Most of the time I'm defensively avoiding having one with a god damn phone texter swerving all over the road. My defensive diving has to be better, too; because I'll get charged with DUI even if the wreck wasn't my fault at all.

Fuck you, America.

I'm a hipster (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416833)

Before it was cool, circa year 2000, i would always drive with my laptop on the passenger seat and hooked to my WAP phone using it for surfing/GPS/watching animes, laws didn't even exist yet to fine for such behavior.

And now that everyone is doing it i only own an old Nokia 3210 with the battery removed almost all the time and the laptop is rather empty only mounting securely a remote volume when i need my data on arrival.

The best part now is noticing some driver on the highway playing with his smartphone and just pass his car laughing when i think to myself "haha such a nerd !".

The vagina ROI didn't quite change though.

Oh wait there's more! (2)

Carnivore24 (467239) | about 5 months ago | (#45416839)

Shaving, putting on makeup, fiddling with GPS, reading books, reading newspapers, eating breakfast

Re:Oh wait there's more! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45417061)

Shaving, putting on makeup, fiddling with GPS, reading books, reading newspapers, eating breakfast

Sometimes all at once.

This is a pointless statistic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416845)

.. The useful statistic is 'number of accidents caused while driver is distracted using the internet'.

If that has gone up, maybe we should be considering legislation. As it is, we are considering legislation based on activists saying:

  "This is bad, therefore it should be banned"

Maybe it is. But if you consider banning before there's any proof, purely on the say-so of activists, you are really abdicating your duty to make a sensible decision on the evidence. Aldous Huxley pointed out that you can't make intelligent decisions if you don't know anything about the subject...

Wonderful (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416849)

My fiance's ex-boyfriend was killed this last weekend by a girl using her cell phone while driving around a two-lane country road with no shoulder and lots of blind curves. Hit him head on on his motorcycle. She was completely in his lane.

It's good to see such a large number of people are so fucking stupid and happy to murder with their cars.

It has not been a good thing, either. They broke up on good terms, and he was an all-around nice guy. So obviously she is all very upset and keeps thinking she is upsetting me by crying over it so much. She's not.

I read this as... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416879)

Nearly 1 in 4 adult Smurfs...

Steeper punishments are worth trying (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 5 months ago | (#45416921)

If we start to treat all forms of visually distracted driving in the way that civilized countries treat drunk driving we might get people to reconsider their behaviors. Being as we are dealing with things that people choose to do, the idea of punishment bad choices should not be anywhere near as unpopular as it is.

Re:Steeper punishments are worth trying (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 5 months ago | (#45417087)

Which is why distinguishing between digital distractions and other distractions shouldn't really be an issue. You're distracted or you're not. The most dangerous/distracting thing in my car is the head unit - whether used with an iPod or the embedded GPS mapping software it requires way too much attention to properly operate. I've switched to using my phone and the voice controls.

Polling criteria? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416947)

Posting as AC for obvious reasons.

Does this count people who only browse the web at red lights? I don't consider that "while driving" in the same sense as when your vehicle is in motion.

Worst case, that leads to someone not paying attention when the light turns green, and you get a horn honk. But anyone considerate will use their peripheral vision for that. In that case, it's just efficient use of microtime. Run through some Anki flashcards to improve your foreign language vocabulary, check your messages, etc. It's amazing how much faster the light turns green when you are engaged with something.

Cops do it all day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416993)

I see cops typing in shit on their computer and staring at it nearly every time I see them... they can't drive 10 feet without at least glancing at it. I would feel infinitely more safe if they made cops follow the law too.

Not sure I trust their numbers. (1)

wcrowe (94389) | about 5 months ago | (#45417009)

I don't completely trust their numbers. 70+ percent of motorists 18-39 admit that they talk or text while driving, but I suspect that older drivers do it just about as much -- they just don't admit to it. Just driving around I notice a LOT of drivers, who are obviously older than 39, talking on, or otherwise looking down at, their phones. In fact, I would say that middle-aged women are possibly the most prolific texters while driving. I'm just not sure that younger drivers are the biggest issue.

The automobile has outlived it's urban utlity (0)

xednieht (1117791) | about 5 months ago | (#45417021)

I take the rapid and rarely use my car. I can text and surf till my fingers wear down to nubs, without a care in the world.

Me too (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 5 months ago | (#45417043)

Yeah, I've used the internet while driving. Got messages, sent messages, performed searches.

Pretty much all of them at the touch of a single button, while the voice-interactive function did all the leg work. All of it about as distracting as my GPS mapping/traffic program, and hella safer than trying to interact with the head unit in the car. There are still some things which can't be done well (email, for one, is nearly impossible), and none of it is suitable for even moderate traffic conditions, but for simple things (find the nearest pizza place, send a message to I'll be 15 minutes late) in minimal or zero traffic it's probably safer than stopping by the side of the road.

people lied on this survey. (2)

Mr Krinkle (112489) | about 5 months ago | (#45417045)

Period.

Try riding a motorcycle through a city, or along a highway. That's when you tend to not be on a phone. (I've definitely used hands free, and texted from stop lights or pulled over on the bike) That's the ONLY people that are on our roads that I'd put better than 50% on not being on their phone. Either blatantly, both hands texting away, or talking on it, or just holding it for easy access.

There is NO WAY that only 1 in 4 people are using their phones on a daily commute. I'd say 3 out of 4 or even 4 out of 5 use their phone daily during their commute.

So.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45417099)

Its not ok to watch porn while driving?

Equivalent blood alcohol content (1)

tinkerton (199273) | about 5 months ago | (#45417101)

When I see a car that's all over the road then it pretty much looks like drunk driving to me. So then I pass it and see the driver busy texting. So here's the proposal: how much does one have to drink to drive like that? Well use that number to calculate the fine.

great decision (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45417137)

I sure the hell hope one those idiots doesn't run into me or anyone I know. It isn't that important, wait til you get to your destination.

Well we can only hope that they kill a (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45417155)

Legislator or ones family.
If people that retarded get a license to drive we clearly need to tighten up the requirements to get a license and make it even harder to keep one.
So it is once again respected.

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