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Smartphones leading to dumb driving behaviors

Do you text and drive? Surf the internet? Did you know half of young drivers (ages 18-29) do and, therefore, put you at risk of getting injured in a car accident?

Your frustration level rises as you honk the horn to basically awaken a driver from his text trance. Now picture that same driver on a 70 MPH highway updating his social media site just as, according to research, 13 percent of all drivers do. General web activity is becoming another popular driving distraction beyond texting.

Are people aware of the dangers of distracted driving? Yes. Almost three out of four drivers polled strongly support rules against texting, emailing or otherwise using non-hands free phones while driving.

Combine the above statistics and the reality is clear: Many of the people who text, email and search the internet while driving know that doing so is dangerous. They are knowingly engaging in reckless behavior. Operating any vehicle requires vigilant scanning of traffic patterns ahead and attention to detail.

Depending on the rate of speed at which a vehicle is traveling, it can cause a lot of damage within the amount of time it takes to send a text message. So though a driver might believe that he is innocently responding to a text, he is actually recklessly putting people at risk of being injured in a distracted driving accident.

Texting, emailing, snapping pictures, updating social media or generally not fully concentrating on operating your vehicle creates much greater risk to you, your passengers and other people sharing the road. Research indicates that one in five drivers regularly use phones in these ways. Unfortunately, that means that distracted driving accidents are bound to happen.

Source: New York Daily News, "Mobile web continues as an increasing distraction for U.S. drivers," Nov. 26, 2012

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