DRIVERS RELUCTANT TO PUT PHONES DOWN WHILE BEHIND THE WHEEL
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Published on Tue, Oct 19, 2010
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Distracted Drivers Admit to Eating, Texting and Grooming while on the Road LA CAR/NEWSWIRE—A recent survey shows that despite continuing warnings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about the potential dangers of in-vehicle cell phone use, the average driver still seems reluctant to stop using one while on the road. The recently completed poll, conducted by Kelley Blue Book (kbb.com), found that of nearly 7,700 online respondents, 22 percent admitted to having used a hand-held cell phone during the past 30 days, while 10 percent said they had used some form of hands-free/Bluetooth device. Taking second spot on this distressing distinction list was eating while driving, which 21 percent of respondents pled guilty to, with texting while driving (13 percent), fiddling with the navigation system (12 percent), and using an iPod (seven percent) filling out the top five infractions. Two other potential distraction creators -- engaging in various forms of on-the-fly personal grooming and reading e-mail -- accounted for less than five percent (each) of responses. Six percent of those who answered the kbb.com poll said they had engaged in none of the above practices, while barely one percent claimed to have been guilty of all. According to the latest NHTSA report, distracted driving is reaching epidemic proportions. It found that in 2009, 5,474 individuals died and 448,000 were injured in distracted-driving related accidents on U.S. highways. More critically, 18 percent of the fatalities and five percent of the injuries involved the use of a cell phone while driving. "In today's always-connected on-the-go lifestyle, with in-car infotainment systems becoming more and more prevalent, we understand that the urge to engage in distracted driving behaviors looms large for many drivers behind the wheel," said James Bell, executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com. "It is going to take a joint effort by automakers in their new-product technology development, government agencies like NHTSA, and most importantly, drivers themselves, to enforce a balance between connectivity and responsible driving to ensure safety on the roads." Kelley Blue Book frequently conducts one-question home page quick polls to gather consumer insight into a variety of topics.