Although most drivers support laws that prohibit cell phone use while driving, they don’t necessarily practice what they preach. That’s what State Farm Insurance Company found when they surveyed drivers about their cell phone habits behind the wheel.
According to the Sixth Annual State Farm Distracted Driving Survey—which dug deeper into consumers’ cell phone usage in vehicles—situations arose where drivers were “more likely” and “less likely” to use their cell phones. Among respondents who admitted to using their cell phones while driving, State Farm found:
Drivers are more likely to use their cell phone when they are:
- Stopped at a red light – 63 percent
- On an open highway – 30 percent
Drivers are less likely to use their cell phone under these conditions:
- Dark outside – 75 percent
- Fog – 91 percent
- Snow – 92 percent
- Icy – 93 percent
- Heavy traffic – 78 percent
- Construction zone – 87 percent
- Rain – 88 percent
- School zone – 83 percent
Even though most drivers say they avoid using their cell phones while in school and construction zones, the survey found that at least 10 percent reported those zones have no impact on their cell phone use while driving.
In the six years that State Farm has been conducting these surveys, trends have emerged:
- There has been a steady reduction in the number of drivers talking on hand-held cell phones.
- The number of people who report texting while driving has remained stable over six years.
- Smartphone ownership is growing. By 2014, drivers who reported owning a smartphone grew to 80 percent. The greatest increases are among adults age 40 and older.
- Smartphones create new distractions. There is a significant increase over six years in drivers using their phones for: accessing the Internet, reading email, responding to email, programming and listening to a navigation system and reading social media.
- Drivers are more likely to talk on a hand-held phone than they are to text message while driving. Both activities are the greatest among drivers ages 18-29. They decreased as the age of drivers increased.
- There has been an increase in the percentage of drivers who say they talk on hands-free cell phones while driving. This can possibly be attributed to advances in technology and laws restricting hand-held use.
“These six-year trends make it apparent that smartphones have created many new distractions for drivers to juggle,” Chris Mullen, Director of Technology Research at State Farm said. “While much attention is paid to the dangers of talking and texting while driving, it’s critical that we also address the increasing use of other smartphone features and other sources of distraction.”