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State Farm Study: 19% Of Drivers Surf The Net

Posted in FAIL, Legal, Police, Safety by Kurt Ernst | March 8th, 2011 | 9 Responses |

According to an unscientific pole conducted by State Farm insurance last November, 19% of drivers, nearly one in five, admit to surfing websites while driving. Worse, they admit to doing at least once per week, and even recognize that it isn’t a good idea. Even more sobering is the 35% who admit to texting while driving, or the 74% who make and receive cell phone calls behind the wheel. State Farm suspects the numbers aren’t accurate, since the drivers surveyed were mostly in their 30s; opening up the survey to a larger demographic is planned for this year. If the respondents are accurate, prepare to be alarmed at the results.

While the majority of respondents admit to surfing while stopped at lights, others freely admit to “webbing while driving”. Take 38 year old Sean Black for example, who claims, “I don’t read in depth stuff, but I Web and drive… I’m not saying it’s the smartest thing in the world… but I guess I do it anyway.” When asked what it would take to stop, his response was typical: “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.” In other words, this asshole is going to keep up his selfish behavior until he kills someone; with luck, it’ll only be himself.

It’s ironic that there are very specific state laws covering the carry of a concealed handgun, yet very little is done to regulate potentially deadly behavior behind the wheel. In Florida, for example, you can face up to 3 years in prison for threatening someone with a weapon (called “felony menacing”, if I remember correctly) yet you’re free to threaten them with your car as you text or surf behind the wheel. Just as improper handling of a loaded gun can get people killed, indifferent handling of your car can do the same thing. Double standard, much?

Source: USA Today, via Autoblog

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9 Responses

  1. Taylor says:

    All it will take is for someone in a high political office to be directly affected by someone texting/webbing while driving and the law making dam will burst.

  2. Kurt Ernst says:

    Taylor, you’re correct. Of all the accidents to date, none has been high enough in profile.

  3. Dave says:

    I used to be a huge txting while driving Nazi. If I saw somebody doing it, I would drive up right beside them in my big yellow Silverado, lay on the horn and gesture wildly. If I had a passenger with me, I would instruct them to scream helpful obscenities.

    ..Then I got my first cell phone. In that time, I have mastered the art of txting and driving while driving my 400HP 5spd manual Camaro – with no cupholders – while drinking a hot coffee, in the rain.

    Sure, I’ve had a few close calls, and I don’t think it would take an accident to make me stop – even if I ran over somebody’s kid. In my mind it’s a matter of knowing when is appropriate to txt and when isn’t. If I’m driving through an urban area, I won’t txt unless I’m at a stop light. If I’m driving in the country, I won’t txt if there’s another vehicle approaching me in the oncoming lane.

    If I’m on a major 4-lane highway I try to keep txting to a bare minimum if ever. It’s just too risky. Of course the natural response to this is: It’s NEVER appropriate to txt and drive!

    I came from one end of the spectrum to the other. I’m not sure my point of view and attitude really have a valid defence, but it is what it is.

    • Kurt Ernst says:

      Dave, you really haven’t mastered anything. You’ve been lucky, and sooner or later that luck runs out.

      Over the years I’ve had dozens of near-miss accidents, some at low speed and some at high speed. Some were weather related, but most were caused by other driver’s mistakes. The one constant for me is that none actually resulted in an accident, most likely because I was focused on the task at hand (driving). It’s great that you try to minimize your texting to “safe” areas, but here are a few scenarios to consider:

      – You’re on a clear stretch of tree-lined road. There’s no oncoming traffic, so you respond to a quick “whats up” text. In the time you look away, an 80 year old woman has pulled out of a driveway because she didn’t see your car. You hit her broadside, killing her instantly, and get to spend the next five years of your life as a guest of the state. Enjoy that hot, sweaty man-love, OK?

      – You’re tooling down the interstate in light traffic with the cruise set at a reasonable 75 MPH. You reply to a text, only to miss the fact that the car in front of you just blew a tire. As a new driver, the person behind the wheel panics and stomps the brake pedal, throwing her car into a spin. You hit her broadside, and get to spend the rest of your life thinking about the look on her face, just before you killed her.

      I could go on, but you get my point. I’m not trying to be demeaning, but understand this: you’re not as talented behind the wheel as you believe you are (and for that matter, neither am I). If you keep texting and driving, sooner or later it’s not going to end well.

      • Dave says:

        I’m not debating any of the points you made, Kurt. Like I said, it is what it is. And nearly everyone in my age group (early 20’s) is worse than I am. How’s that for a scary thought?

        • Kurt Ernst says:

          Scary indeed…

          • al says:

            The only un-scientific “pole” here is the one, hopefully, you hit while texting, and I hope you do, so as to eliminate one more eventual murderer, which YOU ARE.

            Now, un-scientific polls are another story…

  4. Nephilim says:

    I won’t answer or even look at my phone while I’m driving and thats why these asshats piss me off to no end. I see them yacking on the phone while tailgating so close they’re touching their brakes every two seconds or they’re so busy texting at the stop light they hold up traffic because they’re oblivious to the light turning green. These jerkoffs selfishly diminish their driving capability to that of a drunk.

    You’re spot on with the handgun comparison. A 3,300 pound projectile can wreak way more havoc than a 230 grain one.

  5. J D Stadler says:

    It’s so nice to read about others who so blatantly have no regard for the other people on the road with them while they decide to screw around with all manner of electronic devices. Really warms the cockles of my heart to know they surround me as I just try to get to and from work every day or run the most basic of errands.