Survey: Drivers ‘addicted’ to using phones while driving

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Up to 61 percent of drivers could be texting while driving, according to a survey from cell provider AT&T, despite laws prohibiting it in 46 states. The problem with distracted driving doesn’t stop there — more drivers are admitting to using their phones for social networking and video-chatting while behind the wheel, despite warnings about the risks.

One-third of motorists surveyed said that they check their email while driving, and 10 percent admitted to video chatting.

Seventeen percent said they’ve taken selfies while driving as well, along with 30 percent who check their Twitter accounts.

New evidence from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration attributes over 3,000 deaths in 2013 to distracted driving, and safety experts say that drivers are 23 times more likely to crash when texting while driving. For some motorists, though, the temptation is still too strong to resist.

“In essence, it’s a drug, or what I call a digital drug,” said Dr. David Greenfield, founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction at the University of Connecticut. Twenty-two percent of the drivers surveyed agreed, giving addiction as their reason for accessing social networks.

Apps to prevent motorists from using their phones have struggled to catch on, as more than half of motorists continue to drive while texting.