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Drivers Distracted by More than Phones

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author photo by Autotrader September 2010

How often have you been on the highway and seen the driver next to you applying makeup, yelling at their kids or petting their pup? Never mind talking on a cell phone... that's all too (uncomfortably) common. A recent survey sponsored by Chubb Group of insurance companies queried 1,000 U.S. motorists about everything from personal grooming and eating to using cell phones and texting while driving.

Let's start with the obvious. The 356 respondents of the Driver Distraction Survey said they have talked on a hand-held cell phone while driving and 43% felt it should be illegal to do so. Of 133 respondents questioned about texting while driving, 80% felt it should be illegal.

As far as other distractions, 77% of respondents said they have observed other motorists applying makeup, shaving and brushing their hair; only 8% admitted to personal grooming behind the wheel.

Another note: in a recent study from AAA, based on 1,000 dog owners, 31 % of the respondents confessed to being distracted by their dog. Over half the respondents said they pet their dog; 21% let a pup sit on their lap and other canine lovers fed or played with them – all while driving.

The stats are clear. In 2009, nearly 5,500 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver and more than half a million were injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Furthermore, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into serious crashes serious.

It's clear that distracted driving means far more than just texting or talking. Check out the results of Chubb's "risky behavior" survey and take your own inventory – but not while you're driving.

Which of the following have you engaged in while driving?

  • Eating or drinking - 63%
  • Changing CDs, radio stations or songs on an mp3 player - 57%
  • Using a cell phone - 51% : Hand-held - 36%; Hands-free - 31%; Texting - 13%
  • Arguing with unruly children - 19%
  • Personal grooming (makeup, shaving, brushing hair) - 8%
  • Changing clothes - 3%

Which of the following have you observed other motorists doing?

  • Eating or drinking - 90%
  • Changing CDs, radio stations or songs on an mp3 player – 62%
  • Using a cell phone - 97% : Hand-held - 93%; Hands-free - 78%; Texting - 75%
  • Arguing with unruly children – 62%
  • Personal grooming (makeup, shaving, brushing hair) - 77%
  • Changing clothes - 18%

Which of the following should be illegal while driving?

  • Using a cell phone - 90%
  • Texting – 87%
  • Hand-held – 66%
  • Hands-free - 28%
  • Changing clothes - 79%
  • Personal grooming (makeup, shaving, brushing hair) - 69%
  • Arguing with unruly children - 24%
  • Eating or drinking - 21%
  • Changing CDs, radio stations or songs on an mp3 player - 17%
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Drivers Distracted by More than Phones - Autotrader