The Dangers of Driving and Webbing

Surfing the Internet while driving (known as webbing) is the latest distraction that keeps drivers’ eyes from where they belong ― on the road.

According to a study by State Farm Insurance Company, 43 percent of drivers ages 18–29 admitted to checking their email while driving.  Further, 36 percent admitted to visiting social media sites while driving.  Webbing is not limited to younger drivers either, because 21 percent of drivers in all age groups admitted checking their email while driving and 15 percent admitted to visiting social media sites.

The problem is growing larger as more drivers have access to smart phones and more automobile manufacturers are placing distracting computer devices in vehicles. For instance, the iBeetle has an iPhone docking station on the dashboard and an iBeetle app lists messages from Facebook and reads them out loud to the driver. The photo part of the app sends photos taken in the car to friends.  The app also integrates Spotify and iTunes so that drivers can listen to their friends’ favorite music.

BMW also offers an app that allows social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to be read aloud and updated.  BMW Online lets a driver listen and respond to emails or conduct a Google search by using voice commands. Mercedes-Benz has a similar system that allows a driver to perform a Google search and access social media sites.  General Motors, Ford, Toyota, and Lexus also allow access to smart phone applications.  Audi has the new capability to create a Wi-Fi hotspot in the car through a T-Mobile SIM card.

While some argue that these new in-vehicle devices are actually safer because they allow drivers to access the Internet more safely without having to look down at their phone, the fact remains that all drivers should be concentrating on the road and the traffic around them.

Webbing is just the latest driver distraction in a whole string of distractions that preceded it, such as drowsy driving, texting while driving, and talking on cell phones while driving.  It’s important to stay safe while driving and not falling victim to the latest distraction.

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