Since 2009 State Farm has been surveying drivers on their cell phone habits behind the wheel. Nebraska State Farm spokesperson Ann Avery says their latest survey shows a new trend and it stems from smart phones.
Avery says in 2011 52% of drivers owned a smart phone and in 2014 that number grew to 80%. Smart phones create new distractions. Avery says there is a significant increase over six years in drivers using their phones for accessing the internet, reading and responding to email, programming and listening to navigation systems and reading social media.
The survey shows there has been a steady reduction in the number of drivers talking on hand-held phones but the number of people who report texting while driving has remained stable over six years.
Drivers stated they are more likely to use their phone at a red light or on an open highway. However, drivers are less likely to use their phone when it is dark (75%), foggy (90%), during snowy conditions (92%), icy conditions (93%), in heavy traffic (78%), and when it is raining (88%). At least 10% of respondents reported that driving in school zones and construction zones had no impact on their cell phone use.
The survey also shows that drivers are more likely to talk on hand-held phones than they are to text while driving. Both are the greatest for drivers ages 18-29 and use decreases as the driver ages.