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Internet surfing while driving newest trend in distracted driving

In the U.S. it seems like everyone has a cell phone, and more people are upgrading those phones to smartphones with internet capability. Safety officials have widely disseminated information about the dangers of talking on hand-held cell phones and sending text messages while driving. A new form of distracted driving stemming from more sophisticated phone technology is becoming increasingly common, joining calling and texting: surfing the internet while driving.

"Webbing" while driving increasing

According to a survey of 1,000 drivers conducted by State Farm Insurance, more drivers are using smartphones to access the internet while driving. The practice is becoming so ubiquitous that the insurance company coined the term "webbing" to describe this form of distracted driving.

Among drivers aged 18 to 29 years old, 48 percent of survey respondents admitted to accessing the internet while driving during the past year - up from 29 percent in 2009. Drivers in that age range who checked email while driving also increased, from 32 percent in 2009 to 43 percent in 2012. The number of drivers accessing social media sites behind the wheel also rose from 21 percent in 2009 to 36 percent in 2012.

The practice is not limited to just those who are 18 to 29 years old, however. Survey results show that drivers of all ages are engaging in this risky behavior.

Dangers of distracted driving

It may be tempting to sneak a peek at a website or email while driving, but the dangers of doing so are grave. Drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in an auto accident if they text while driving, according to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. A text message takes about four seconds to send, as reported by distraction.gov, but a car travelling 55 miles per hour would travel a distance greater than a football field in that time.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show that 18 percent of the auto accidents resulting in injuries were attributable to a distracted driver. In 2010 alone, the NTHSA reported that 3092 people died and another 416,000 people were injured in distraction-related motor vehicle accidents.

Speak with a lawyer

No matter how careful a person is while driving, he or she cannot ensure that other will be as conscientious behind the wheel. Distracted driving is a major cause of auto accidents. If you have been injured by a distracted driver talk to an attorney with a proven record of success in handling such cases who can help you recover for your losses.

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