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More people are taking photos and videos while driving, new survey says

State Farm says drivers know better than to use their phones, but do it anyway.
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Photo by Unsplash

Photo by Unsplash

Taking selfies and recording videos while driving is a dangerous habit that's becoming more popular.

That's according the annual report on distracted driving from State Farm. The insurance company surveyed adults 18 and older to examine their attitudes and behaviors regarding distracted driving.

While distracted driving has been on the rise, State Farm says rates of some behaviors, like talking on a handheld cellphone and browsing the internet while driving, have actually dropped. But there's been a "significant increase" in the number of drivers taking photos and recording videos while behind the wheel.

The survey shows the number of drivers who take pictures with a cellphone went from 19 percent of all drivers in 2015 to 23 percent in 2016. For drivers 18-29, it actually went down from 38 percent to 36 percent. Drivers who record video with a cellphone went from 10 percent to 14 percent for all drivers, and from 23 percent to 24 percent for 18 to 29 year olds.

State Farm says the relationship between cell phone usage and crashes is clear. People who admitted to using their phones while driving were more likely to have been in a crash, compared to those who said they rarely or never used their phones while driving.

We know it's wrong, but do it anyway

More drivers than ever before have smartphones, (91 percent of those who took the survey) which opens the door to a lot of distracted driving.

State Farm says most drivers who participate in distracted behaviors realize it increases the likelihood of a crash – but do it anyway.

About half of respondents admitted to talking on the phone while driving, despite the fact that 82 percent find it distracting. Same goes for texting – 95 percent of people think it's distracting, but 35 percent reported doing it.

What's more alarming – the more smartphone activities drivers engage in while behind the wheel, the more likely they are to partake in other risky behaviors, the company says. That includes everything from driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, to racing, failing to wear a seatbelt, and driving while drowsy.

So what's the excuse? The most common reason for text messaging and using social media while driving was "It is a habit," while the top reason for taking pictures/recording video was “I see something I want to share.”

“Today’s drivers are faced with an ever-growing number of demands on their attention that may distract them from the critical task of driving,” Chris Mullen, Director of Technology Research at State Farm, said in the release.

“Every day we make choices about the risks we are willing to take when behind the wheel. We encourage everyone to take personal responsibility in adopting safer driving habits, for the benefit of themselves, their families, and all who share our roadways.”

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