WARREN, NJ - More than half of U.S. motorists say they have used a cell phone while driving, but nine out of 10 say it should be illegal to do so, according to a survey sponsored by the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies.
The 2010 Chubb Driver Distraction Survey asked 1,000 motorists throughout the United States about three types of cell phone uses while driving: talking with a hand-held phone, talking with a hands-free phone, and texting.
Of the 356 respondents who said they have talked on a hand-held cell phone while driving, 43 percent said it should be illegal to do so. Of the 315 respondents who have talked on a hands-free cell phone while driving, 11 percent said it should be illegal to do so. An overwhelming 80 percent of the 133 respondents who have texted while driving said that should be illegal. Almost a third of younger drivers (ages 18 to 34 years) said they have texted while driving.
Although 77 percent of respondents have observed other motorists apply makeup, shave or brush their hair, only 8 percent admitted to engaging in such personal grooming activities behind the wheel. In addition, 18 percent of respondents have seen others change their clothes while driving, but only 3 percent admitted to doing so themselves.
Nearly 5,500 people died in 2009 in crashes involving a distracted driver, and more than half a million were injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.
"Our survey shows a disconnect between how people view the dangers associated with distracted driving and their own behavior behind the wheel," said Raymond Crisci, vice president and worldwide automobile product manager for Chubb Personal Insurance. "We're hopeful that as people continue to become more educated regarding the hazards associated with distracted driving, they'll be less likely to engage in risky behavior."
Below is a summary of the survey results:
Which of the following activities have you engaged in while driving?
-- Eating or drinking - 63%
-- Changing CDs, radio stations or songs on an mp3 player - 57%
-- Using a cell phone - 51%
-- Hand-held - 36%
-- Hands-free - 31%
-- Texting - 13%
-- Arguing with unruly children - 19%
-- Personal grooming (makeup, shaving, brushing hair) - 8%
-- Changing clothes - 3%
Which of the following activities have you observed other motorists doing?
-- Using a cell phone - 97%
-- Hand-held - 93%
-- Hands-free - 78%
-- Texting - 75%
-- Eating or drinking - 90%
-- Personal grooming (makeup, shaving, brushing hair) - 77%
-- Changing CDs, radio stations or songs on an mp3 player - 62%
-- Arguing with unruly children - 62%
-- Changing clothes - 18%
Which of the following activities should be illegal while driving?
-- Using a cell phone - 90%
-- Texting - 87%
-- Hand-held - 66%
-- Hands-free - 28%
-- Changing clothes - 79%
-- Personal grooming (makeup, shaving, brushing hair) - 69%
-- Arguing with unruly children - 24%
-- Eating or drinking - 21%
-- Changing CDs, radio stations or songs on an mp3 player - 17%
The telephone survey of 1,000 Americans was conducted in May by Opinion Research Corp.
The member insurers of the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies form a multi-billion dollar organization providing property and casualty insurance for personal and commercial customers worldwide.