PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Stand on any side of the road and it’s likely you’ll see drivers with a cell phone against their ear.
But it’s not talking on the phone – or even texting – that is raising eyebrow in the latest State Farm Insurance study of drivers’ habits.
“We have 24 percent using that time in the car to read email, accessing the internet and even reading social media is around 17 percent while they’re driving,” said Jennifer Johnsen-Nazareth.
In other words, almost one in every four drivers says they surf the net while they drive – and 16 percent answer emails.
“That’s problematic and that’s why we have to enact in Pennsylvania a law that outlaws both the use of devices itself and we need to go to a hands-free type of device,” Johnsen-Nazareth said.
Some drivers told KDKA they agree.
“As soon as they get in the car, they are texting someone all the time and they should ban them all together,” said James Young of McKeesport.
“I definitely see people driving around with their cell phones up in their face and I don’t think it’s a good idea,” said Niki Dobies of West View.
“I think it’s unsafe and probably contributing to a higher incidence of distracted driving and accidents,” said Rick Newell of Butler.
Distracted driving studies have shown disaster is a fraction of a second away.
“On-coming traffic, stationary object on the side of the road, this is a life-and-death situation and the more distractions, even just one, can be life-threatening,” Sen. Bob Costa said.
Costa says not only should hands-free phones be banned, it should be a law with teeth.
“If we make it a primary offense, that’s the best way we’re going to get people’s attention and dramatically impact the use and the violations that would occur as well as safety matters,” he said.
If the report fuels the legislature to impose a ban, they won’t be alone. Already, every state that borders Pennsylvania, except Ohio, already bans the use of handheld cellphones in cars.