Over the past decade, most drivers have come to recognize the significant dangers posed by distracted driving. Indeed, no matter whether someone is using his cell phone, adjusting his GPS device or chatting with passengers while behind the wheel, any activity that causes a driver to remove his attention from the road can cause serious car accidents. Despite the widespread nature of distracted driving behaviors, the general belief is that younger drivers are more likely to engage in activities that render them a hazard. New data shows, however, that the incidence of distracted driving is increasing among older drivers.
State Farm Insurance conducted its annual driver survey in July of this year. Overall, researchers at State Farm interviewed 1,000 drivers about a variety of driving habits. They discovered that the number of drivers over the age of 30 who own smart phones capable of browsing the internet has increased dramatically over the past year. In addition, the number of drivers of all ages who use the internet while they are behind the wheel has increased, from about 13 percent in 2009 to approximately 24 percent in 2013.
Some of the most interesting data from the State Farm survey illustrates the use of smart phone technology by age. In 2011, about 78 percent of drivers between the ages of 18 and 29 owned smart phones. In 2013, that number rose to nearly 86 percent. In 2011, only about 23 percent of drivers over the age of 65 owned smart phones. In 2013, that number increased to nearly 40 percent.
Of those drivers surveyed, about three quarters said they supported strong laws designed to prevent drivers from using cell phones and other electronic devices while behind the wheel. Only about 44 percent of those in the survey said that they would support the adoption of technologies that would prevent people from using electronic devices while driving.
More than anything else, the findings of the 2013 survey show that distracted driving is not a problem isolated to any one particular age group. This underscores the importance of developing a multifaceted approach – including legislation, education and the further development of new technologies – to address the significant threat posed by distracted driving behaviors. Any efforts to make our highways safer must take all drivers of all ages into consideration rather than focusing on small portions of the population.
If you have suffered a serious injury in a car accident, consider speaking to an experienced personal injury attorney.