Social media a major roadway distraction

Teenager with iPhone driving distractedAlmost half of drivers distracted by their smartphones are busy using social media, a new survey suggests.

Key activities self-reported by the drivers — in addition to texting and using email — include “surfing the Net,” taking selfies and shooting videos.

Seven in 10 people who own smartphones and use them daily engage in some form of smartphone activity while driving, a survey conducted for wireless carrier AT&T shows. Most of those activities are against the law, depending on the state.

Facebook, of course, takes the top spot in social media, with a quarter of the smartphone users reporting tapping into the service while behind the wheel. Twitter came in at 14 percent, tied with Instagram. Snapchat was cited by 11 percent, while 10 percent admitted to doing video chats. Nine percent reported posting YouTube videos. Pinterest, Vine, LinkedIn and Vine also drew responses.

While most social-media activities were reported as being done “sometimes” or “once in a while,” 30 percent of Twitter users said they posted to the service “all the time.”

“Habit” was cited as the No. 1 reason for using social networks (38 percent). “Addiction” drew 17 percent of explanations for social-network interactions.

“Fear of missing something important” was the primary reason for glancing at texts (38 percent) and email (33 percent).

Six out of 10 of the drivers surveyed said they kept their smartphones “within easy reach” while driving.

Texting remained the primary function, with 61 percent of the drivers admitting to the practice. Email came in at 33 percent. All that represents a significant amount of civil disobedience: Almost all states bar texting with use of the hands (and include email and instant messaging).

AT&T said, in response, that it would expand its It Can Wait distracted driving campaign to include the social media elements.

The survey of 2,067 people in the U.S. focused on those “aged 16-65 who use their smartphone and drive at least once a day.” The survey was conducted March 27-April 6.

Read more about the “Smartphone Use Behind the Wheel Survey.”


  1. I hope these figures are wrong. If they are not, then I pray the people who are smart enough not to play with their phones while driving are alert enough to stay out of the way of these idiots. Many people will be complacent until it’s too late; cell phones may replace the dinosaur (survival of the fittest).

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