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More motorists admit to texting while driving

OW Staff Writer | 4/12/2019, midnight

With April designated as Distracted Drivers Awareness Month, DriversEd.com has released a study that reveals that 55 percent of U.S. drivers admit to checking social media while behind the wheel.

Meanwhile, 68 percent of Americans say they have caught a driver checking social media, and 35 percent say they have caught a driver watching a video.

“There’s no way around it: the data is startling. I wish I could say the solution is as simple as parents talking to their teen drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. But parents are also the ones checking their Facebook, watching YouTube videos and recording Instagram videos,” said Laura Adams, safety and education analyst at DriversEd.com. “We are in an ever-growing distracted driving crisis, and the consequences are deadly.”

“For many drivers, health and safety takes a backseat to their likes and shares,” added Adams.

Among the study’s findings:

— Social media: 30 percent of drivers say they have checked Facebook while behind the wheel, as 20 percent say they have checked Instagram and 17 percent say they have checked Snapchat.

— Video watching: 26 percent of drivers say they have watched videos on their phone while behind the wheel, as 14 percent say they have watched Facebook videos, 12 percent say they have watched YouTube videos, nine percent say they have watched Instagram videos and nine percent say they have watched Snapchat videos.

— Video recording: 25 percent of drivers say they have recorded a video while behind the wheel.

— Uber and Lyft: 19 percent of Americans say they have noticed their Uber, Lyft or other rideshare driver checking social media.

“Stuck in traffic. Waiting at a stop sign. Stopped at a red light. These are all situations where many drivers think it’s safe to send that text or scroll through their social feed—but the realities of the road say otherwise,” said Adams. “Pedestrian deaths, which are currently at a 30-year high, often occur at intersections and crosswalks as the result of a driver being distracted.

“There are many tips and techniques that drivers can implement in order to counter distracted driving. However, the first—and often most difficult—step for any driver is acknowledgement of the problem. After that comes the solutions. At DriversEd.com, we are committed to spreading awareness of this perilous issue and educating people on safe, smart driving behaviors, which include putting your phone away while behind the wheel.”

DriversEd.com’s full report—which includes additional data, insights and analysis—is available at https://driversed.com/trending/pledge-put-your-phonedown-during-distracted-driving-awareness-month.