The increasing popularity of smart phones has had a noticeable impact on driver behavior, according to a new study from State Farm. Annual surveys conducted by the insurance company demonstrate that smart phone-specific behaviors such as surfing the Internet, checking email and accessing social media sites have risen steadily over the past six years. The impact on the total amount of distracted driving is somewhat offset by a reduction in being using cell phones for actual calls while behind the wheel. The survey shows that cell phone use of one type or another has continued to rise among drivers.
State Farm first took a national survey of cell phone behavior in 2009. Since that time, the percentage of drivers who surf the Internet while driving has risen 13 percent. The percentage who read email has risen 10 percent. Finally, the percentage who use their phones for social media while driving has risen 11 percent. The percentages have risen despite the proliferation of laws banning texting and hand-held cell phone use in a number of states.