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Posted: Thursday, 14 November 2013 7:02AM

More people than ever using phones while driving



State Farm has released findings from its annual distracted driving survey which shows mature adults are catching up to younger drivers in terms of  using the phone when behind the wheel.

Regional State Farm spokesman Gary Stephenson says the sharp increase in the number of people using their smartphone while driving is troubling.

"We should not ever forget that when we're behind the wheel there's one primary job, and that's eyes on the road... that's a very risky situation if you're distracted in any way," said Stephenson.

Stephenson says there has been a major increase in the number of drivers who own smart phones, and that means the percentage of drivers who access the internet on their phone while driving has nearly doubled over the past five years.

State Farm says the survey of nearly 1000 motorists highlights a growing safety concern: "A significant increase in the percentage of drivers who own smart phones, particularly among drivers age thirty and older. Additionally, the percentage of all drivers who access the internet on their phone while driving has nearly doubled over the past five years, going up from 13% in 2009 to 24% in 2013.  Among the 18 – 29 year old group, the number is 49%."

Stephenson says having a smart phone has become a huge part of our lives but people should put them down while behind the wheel.

"Your eyes are not on the road, at least one of your hands is not on the wheel, and your mind is somewhere else," Stephenson said.

He says people don't like the idea of having their phone electronically disabled while a car is in motion, but 74% of drivers surveyed support laws banning texting while driving.

"They just felt like there was a gap there and perhaps better enforcement might help change some behaviors out there," says Stephenson.

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