Surfing the Internet while driving is on the rise - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Surfing the net while driving on the rise

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - State Farm released it's annual report on distracting driving, and they found that while texting continues to be a problem, now surfing the internet is on the rise.

State Farm surveyed nearly 1,000 drivers and found the trend in every age group. The report said since 2009, the percentage of drivers surfing the net has nearly doubled. The agency also said the trend will continue as more people are purchasing smartphones than ever before.

Right now 86 percent of drivers ages 18 to 29 own a smartphone, up from 78 percent in 2011. Eighty-two percent of drivers ages 40 to 49 own a smartphone, up from 47 percent in 2011. Thirty-nine percent of drivers 65 and older own a smartphone, up from 23 percent two years ago.

These findings are a reason why State Farm Agent Tony McAfee said the insurance company supports a three-pronged approached.

"One is education and so we send out the messages asking folks to talk about it. Then there's the legislative piece to it, and then there's technology. We bring all those things together I think that's the way we address the issue," McAfee said.

It's an issue that continues to kill thousand of people every year. Some good news in the survey shows that while more people are surfing the net while driving, the use of hands-free devices has increased.

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