The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Survey Says 64 Percent of Drivers Find Phone Dialing a Distraction

August 6, 2001

Sixty-four percent of the 12,920 drivers surveyed by J.D. Power and Associates said dialing while driving is very distracting, while only 30 percent said talking on the phone while driving is very distracting. The Agoura Hills, CA, marketing firm conducted an Internet survey of people who bought or leased new vehicles in June. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 1 percentage point. Cell phone use among motorists is a growing concern across the nation. In June, New York became the first state to ban using cell phones while driving. At least a dozen localities and 23 foreign countries have established bans, and several other states are considering similar laws. A government survey released last month showed that at any given time, about 3 percent of drivers are talking on hand-held cell phones while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that at least 500,000 drivers are simultaneously talking on their cell phones during the daytime. Rates nearly doubled during nonrush hours. Most of the drivers surveyed said they would prefer to receive on-board services normally accessed by a cell phone by pushing just one button, such as the OnStar system operated by General Motors Corp. Thirty-one percent said audible notification of e-mail while driving was very distracting; 30 percent said talking on a cell phone installed in a vehicle was very distracting; and 28 percent said eating and drinking was very distracting. And 21 percent think using a personal-assistance service that provides information, such as where to find a restaurant, is very distracting; while 17 percent consider an in-vehicle entertainment system, such as video games in the back seat, to be very distracting. Only 9 percent of those surveyed said tuning the radio while driving was very distracting.
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