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BizReport : Internet : March 03, 2011


New peril on the roads - web surfing behind the wheel

People are becoming more and more addicted to instant access to information via their mobile phones. So much so that they can't so much as sit at a red light without browsing the Internet or, worse still, driving while surfing.

by Helen Leggatt

Just as tough measures have been implemented in countries around the globe to curb texting while driving, another activity is being carried out behind the steering wheel - Internet surfing.

According to US insurance firm State Farm, which surveyed 912 licensed drivers last year, 19% admitted to browsing the Internet while behind the wheel of their vehicle.

"That 19% might be underestimating the actual use of smart phones to access the Internet while driving, because the majority of the respondents were in the age range of the 30s," Cindy Garretson, director of auto technology research at State Farm, told USA Today.

"The largest users of cell phones tend to be the younger-age population. We would be very interested to know what that number would be if the focus was on the young adult market."

Many of those surveyed tried to excuse their behavior by stating they only ever surfed the Internet in their vehicle while stopped in traffic or at a red light. However, any distraction while in charge of a motor vehicle has been shown to be dangerous.

One such respondent was 38-year-old Sean Black from Illinois, who admitted he often surfs the Internet while driving.

"I don't read in-depth stuff, but I web and drive," he said. "I'll check different stuff about sports. I'm not saying it's the smartest thing in the world ... but I guess I just do it anyway."

When asked what it would take for him to stop this dangerous behavior he replied that "the easy answer would be an accident or near-accident. But part of me wonders, depending on how bad it would be, if even that would do it. I think it's one of those things where you just don't think anything's going to happen."






Tags: mobile, mobile Internet, safety








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