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Study: People Are Checking Email & Surfing Internet While Driving

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A dangerous trend behind the wheel picks up speed–and this time, it isn’t texting.

Monique Griego has more on a new study that shows what else people are doing on the road.

While texting and driving gets a lot of attention, this new study shows that’s just the beginning. Drivers are browsing the web and emailing behind the wheel.

Most drivers have witnessed this dangerous trend on the road.

“I’ve seen people with Netflix on their phone watching movies,” said driver Lewis Williams.

“Emailing. I’ve seen people watch videos. Facebook, Instagram,” said driver Floyd Stagg.

It’s web browsing and driving, and according to a new study by State Farm, the amount of Americans that admit to doing it keeps rising. From 2009 to 2013, the numbers nearly doubled from 13 percent to 24 percent. When it comes to drivers from 18 to 29, the percentage jumped from 29 percent to 49 percent.

“I think that’s crazy,” said one driver.

“It’s a little shocking but you’re behind someone and they’re swerving, you kind of know what’s going on,” said driver Jason Schwartzberg.

The study classified searching the Internet as anything from checking email, websites or directions to watching videos, but it also looked at texting. Despite the national push for awareness and new laws, 35 percent of U.S. drivers admit to texting behind the wheel. Young drivers 18 to 29 blew that number away with a whopping 70 percent.

“I guess it can wait but sometimes you feel it’s more important than it really is. I’m guilty,” Williams said.

The biggest factor in the rise of browsing drivers is the rise in smartphone users. With the use of technology constantly growing, it will be up to drivers to play it safe.

“Looking away from your phone for a second could be the difference of you killing yourself or somebody else,” Stagg said.

Another study by Virginia Tech says texting and driving nearly doubles your chances of getting into a crash.

The biggest jump in smartphone ownership came from drivers ages 40-49. The percentage skyrocketed from 47 percent to 89 percent.

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