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?