Older But Not Wiser

smartphone driving

Older Drivers Also Distracted by Smartphones

Teenagers aren't the only ones doing it: older drivers are becoming more and more likely to engage in distracted driving. A recently issued report cites the growth in smartphone ownership by older demographics as the source of the latest increase in distracted driving.

The percentage of drivers in their 30s who own smartphones now matches the percentage of 18- to 29-year-olds who own them. Two years ago, only 60 percent of drivers between ages 30 and 39 had a smartphone, but today 86 percent of that age group owns one. The increases don't stop there: smartphone ownership among 40- to 49-year-olds rose from 47 percent in 2011 to 82 percent this year, while the percentage of those 50 to 64 also grew from 44 percent to 64 percent.

The report asserts that distracted driving occurs more frequently today than ever before, and that smartphones allow for distracted driving behaviors beyond merely calling or texting. Twenty-four percent of drivers now admit to surfing the internet via their phone while driving. Thirteen percent admitted to doing so in 2009.

Distracted driving can cause extremely serious car accidents and injuries, but is still pervasive among both younger and more mature drivers. Although most busy adults may not be using smartphones to post "selfies" behind the wheel like their teenage counterparts, they still may be checking email or adding an item to their grocery list app.

Source: “More older drivers distracted by smartphones. “Post-gazette.com. November 12, 2013.