BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Distracted driving. Mobile phone provider AT&T reveals just how bad it is when people use their smartphones behind the wheel.
Amy Yensi was with police and witnessed it firsthand.
Whether it’s the apps, social media or upgraded cameras, some say smartphones are distracting drivers more than ever.
Drivers who talk and text on their cell phones have long been a topic of worry, but add a smartphone to the mix, and the distractions seem endless.
A new AT&T study shows nearly 4 in 10 drivers use social media while driving and almost 3 in 10 surf the Internet.
“That’s because the phone has become a very important part of our lives, but it shouldn’t be done in the car,” said Diane Goldman, driver.
The poll of more than 2,000 people who use smartphones and drive at least once a day reveals social media is taking a front seat in the car.
Drivers are texting, emailing, surfing the net, using Facebook and even snapping selfies. Twitter and Instagram are also growing distractions.
Some drivers surveyed admit to shooting video and having video chats while on the road.
“Hands-free means that you are not touching a phone–at all,” said Sgt. Marc Black, Maryland State Police.
Sgt. Black says the law is clear. During a 15-minute ride-along, we spotted at least half a dozen drivers breaking it.
One driver hangs her phone from the rear view mirror so she can read.
Sixty-two percent of people polled keep their smartphones within easy reach while driving–a scary thought for drivers who may not use their phones behind the wheel, but share the road with those who do.
“They check them all the time. I think other than when they’re sleeping, they’re not,” Goldman said.
Like the AT&T campaign behind the study, Sgt. Black agrees–it can wait.
“This is a two-ton missile. Wherever we direct it is where it’s going to go. And if we’re not paying attention to where we direct it, it could be a dangerous situation,” he said.
State police plan to continue their crackdown on distracted driving throughout the year.
AT&T will expand the “It Can Wait” campaign from a focus on texting while driving to include other smartphone driving distractions.