Survey says: one-third of US smartphone owners use them while driving

Survey says: one-third of US smartphone owners use them while drivingHave we mentioned phones and driving before? Yes we have. Check out Bluetooth headsets no safer for driving: report and Almost half of Brits talk behind the wheel.

A spanking new survey out of the US suggests over one-third of smartphone owners use them while in control of a potential death machine. For shame.

As relayed by lovely lady Liz Gannes at AllThingsD, the McKinsey report was unleashed at the Detroit Auto Show, following an online poll with 4,000 respondents.

Asked: “Do you use your smartphone while driving?” – 35% of respondents said aye. And those are just the ones who admit it.

A follow-on question asked: “What do you use your smartphone for while driving?” Check it:

  • Calls – 89%
  • Navigation – 68%
  • SMS – 39%
  • Internet, email, social networks, apps – 31%

To be fair, it’s not clear how many of the 89% making calls are playing safe with Bluetooth and keeping both hands on the wheel (and eyes on the road), but there's never any excuse for texting.

A little googling reveals that car crashes are the number one cause of death for Americans aged 5 to 24. Something to think about.

Oh, and that's a car crash simulation above, in case you were feeling squeamish.

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10 comments

Pondlife  Jan. 16, 2013 at 14:13

Pity they didn't ask about taking photos/videos too. I've had texts from people in US whilst at the wheel but they were always at traffic lights at the time. Seems you can be waiting quite some time.
Also can be rather a lot of time stationary in traffic jams too if in/near big cities from what I can make out.

mightyforest  Jan. 16, 2013 at 14:16

i text while driving but using the nice smart texting speech service on my windows phone. hands free to reading the text, replying and sending. bingo
should get better as newer cars come with the likes of bluetooth and nfc built in

matt101101 / MOD  Jan. 16, 2013 at 14:17

The bottom one on that list is unforgivable; it's just as dangerous as closing your eyes and firing a gun in a public place. The other three can both be done without:

a) Taking your eyes off the road
b) Touching your phone whilst the car is moving

Calls can be taking via BT and Nav can be set up before you start your journey. Texts can be written by speech recognition nowadays, Google's new (read: Android 4.1 and above) speech recognition is very, very accurate (Siri's not bad, either). That said, anything that important and I guess you could just phone the person, via BT, naturally.

matt101101 / MOD  Jan. 16, 2013 at 14:24

newer cars come with the likes of bluetooth and nfc built in
NFC may be new, but BT has been in "normal" cars for years. My other half's 2010 Fiesta Zetec has BT and I know for a fact that the same model she has was available from 2008, so that's approaching 5 years on a basic, run-about car. Hell, the 2006 Fiat Panda 100HP (a sub-£10k car when it was brand new) has BT as standard, that car's approaching 8 years old. There's no excuse not to be using BT to make phone calls in the car, the technology is no longer the reserve of Audi, BMW, Mercedes etc and hasn't been for about a decade. Even if your car doesn't have BT built in, BT headsets cost from only a few pounds nowadays.

matt101101 / MOD  Jan. 16, 2013 at 14:26

Pity they didn't ask about taking photos/videos too. I've had texts from people in US whilst at the wheel but they were always at traffic lights at the time. Seems you can be waiting quite some time.
Also can be rather a lot of time stationary in traffic jams too if in/near big cities from what I can make out.

And looking down to pick a new song, lots of cars have an AUX cable socket, but that requires you to pick the phone/MP3 player up to change song as the car's built in audio controls won't work as they do via BT or when playing music from a CD.

Pondlife  Jan. 16, 2013 at 14:26

Couldn't email be done the same way as texting though?

Expect there were few people texting/tweeting and facebooking whilst stuck in snow caused traffic jams the other day near here. Much of it done legally with the engine turned off...

matt101101 / MOD  Jan. 16, 2013 at 14:30

Couldn't email be done the same way as texting though?

Expect there were few people texting/tweeting and facebooking whilst stuck in snow caused traffic jams the other day near here. Much of it done legally with the engine turned off...

If you're stopped at lights (or in the snow), I don't really have that much of an issue with people using their phone, the worst that's going to happen is the person behind them will beep at them for not moving when the lights change/the queue starts to move. Not really comparable to hitting a kid 'cos you were driving and texting...

Yes, I guess email could be done the same way a text can. Reading FB and Twitter on the other hand, can't.

Pondlife  Jan. 16, 2013 at 14:36

Someone I worked with was more dangerous when talking to anyone in the vehicle than using any other form of device. He would turn to face people while talking to them, and keep that way much of the time. That and the emphasis with hand movements were rather scary at times.

Stelph  Jan. 16, 2013 at 16:25

i text while driving but using the nice smart texting speech service on my windows phone. hands free to reading the text, replying and sending. bingo
should get better as newer cars come with the likes of bluetooth and nfc built in


Does that actually work? It could be I have a particlarly noisty car but my iPhone struggles to understand a word I am saying. I

Perhaps you mean its done with a bluetooth headset tho which I admit I havent tried

mightyforest  Jan. 16, 2013 at 18:09

yea works a treat on my windows phone, says text received do i want to read, then asks if i want to reply, reads back text to you after youve said what you want to reply with then asks if you want to send.

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