Survey says: "Apping" while driving can be unsafe

Ari Robbins
Contributing Editor from Atlanta, GA
Published: July 1, 2010

You've heard of texting while driving, and often when purchasing a new phone you'll find some sort of a warning attached to the device recommending against it.  But have you heard of Apping while driving?  According to a survey initiated by Nationwide Insurance, it's the next worst thing when it comes to driving safety.

While the survey of 1,004 drivers is far from a representative sample of the population, it does provide some interesting figures to think about.  The results suggest that 25% of drivers who use smartphones say they use apps while driving.  Not surprising is the fact that location-based and social-networking apps, along with email and texting were found to be the heaviest in use.  Three percent of those surveyed admitted to downloading apps while driving, three percent watch TV on their smartphones while driving, two percent claimed they watch videos while driving and another two percent admitted to playing video games while driving.

Astoundingly, 38% of those surveyed by Nationwide suggested they had been hit, or "nearly hit" by someone using a mobile phone while driving.  According to Bill Windsor, Associate Vice President for Consumer Safety for Nationwide, “The number of Americans who multitask by using a mobile application while driving becomes more troubling as the market for feature phones and applications steadily grows.”

There's no question that smartphones are distracting devices.  Between emails, twitter feeds, and reader updates I can easily be glued to my device all day long.  I'll even admit that I'm guilty of some of the above, though I try to keep it to red lights.  But an important note to mention - and don't take this as me defending "apping" while driving - is that doing anything other than driving while driving, is a distraction, and potentially unsafe.  Now stop reading this in your car!

Via MSNBC