Distracted Driving
distracted driving

Distracted Driving Spotlight: San Diego

Researchers put the spotlight on distracted driving behavior in San Diego.

A new survey reveals that 30 percent of San Diego drivers use cell phones while driving with some regularity – and the majority of drivers transporting young children use their phones to text or chat.

“In this study, we were looking for the distracted driving trends of adults with children and employees. The results highlight the dangerous behavior of adults driving distracted, especially with children in the car, exposing both themselves and their children to increased risk for a crash,” said Linda Hill, MD, MPH, clinical professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “Moreover, employers should be aware that encouraging workers to initiate and receive calls while driving on the job is putting their employees at risk and exposing their companies to potential liability.”

The Adult Cell Phone Survey, conducted Feb. 8 through March 31, focused on the driving habits of 715 adult San Diego County residents. The survey used an anonymous, online questionnaire to examine drivers’ attitudes about cell phone use and to quantify the amount of time that respondents use cell phones to text or call others while on the road.

Key findings include:

  • Of the 512 respondents driving an average of one to two hours per day, the reported use of cell phones for talking, texting and other applications was: 30 percent ranged from sometimes to frequently, 53 percent rarely and 17 percent never.
  • 56 percent reported driving with a handheld phone and 92 percent drive with a hands-free phone.
  • Of the 261 respondents with children younger than 11 years old in the car, 65 percent drive with a cell phone and 36 percent text.
  • Of the 193 respondents with children ages 12 to 17 in the car, 63 percent use a phone while driving and 31 percent text.
  • Adults with children younger than 11 in the car were significantly more likely to text and to talk on a handheld phone.
  • 31 percent of respondents feel obliged to take a work-related call while driving.

“We know from prior research that parents are the number one source of information for teen drivers,” said Freddy Santos, corporate relations manager with Allstate Insurance Co., which supported the survey. “When adults choose safe driving habits over distractions, it reinforces to teens, children and California’s new and future drivers the importance of driving safely.”

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