Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Study: More Older Drivers Distracted by Smartphones

While younger people remain the undisputed champions of distracted driving, older drivers may be catching up, according to a report issued last week. State Farm Insurance's annual distracted driving survey cites a "growing safety concern" -- a sharp increase in smartphone ownership by drivers 30 and older. And while states have focused on banning texting while driving, and in some cases have also banned hand-held cell phone use, another distractive behavior is filling the void. The percentage of drivers who said they use their phone to access the Internet while driving has nearly doubled, from 13% in 2009 to 24% in this year's survey.

The number of drivers between ages 30 and 39 who own smartphones has gone from 60% to 86% in the past two years, matching the percentage of 18- to 29-year-olds who own them, according to the survey. Big increases also are found in older age ranges: smartphone ownership among 40- to 49-year-olds grew from 47% in 2011 to 82% this year; among those 50 to 64 the percentage rose from 44% to 64%.

(Source: The Pittsburg Post-Gazette, November 13, 2013, as cited in the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety eNewsletter, 11/19/2013.)

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