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Survey: 38% of drivers hit or nearly hit by drivers on cell phones

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July 1, 2010—Thirty-eight percent of drivers said they have been hit or nearly hit by a driver distracted by a cell phone, according to a new survey by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.

Despite the fact that many people have experienced an accident or close call as a result of driver distraction, more than one in four admit to using phone applications while driving.

The problem encompasses more than just the use of cell phones for calling and texting, according to the survey. GPS devices, Internet and use of smart phone applications are also major causes of driver distraction. Nearly four out of 10 drivers have in-car technology such as a DVD player or video monitor (17 percent), music search (14 percent), hands-free phone calling capabilities (13 percent), GPS (13 percent), and Internet access (2 percent).

“The number of Americans who multi-task by using a mobile application while driving becomes more troubling as the market for feature phones and applications steadily
grows,” said Bill Windsor, Nationwide’s associate vice president for consumer safety. “This summer alone, a multitude of new generation cell phones, including the new iPhone, will hit the market offering more features to multi-task on the go.”

Smart phone applications for Twitter and Facebook are extremely popular, according to the survey. “Social networking has become an obsession for many people, but it’s critical that people not try to do it while driving. No post or tweet is so important it’s worth losing your life over,” Windsor said.

The phone survey of 1,000 adults was conducted in June. To view and print the entire survey, go to nationwide.com/dwd.

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