July 20, 2011

Smart Phones Distracting Drivers, GMAC Insurance Study Says

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., July 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Results from the 2011 GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test revealed that while 8 in 10 drivers say it is never safe to text, email or use their smart phone, an alarmingly large percentage of drivers use various features of their smart phones when operating their vehicles. Even with a number of states banning handheld cell phone use and texting while driving, nearly 50 percent of drivers admit to making phone calls while driving and about 15 percent of drivers admit to sending and reading text messages while driving. However, the youngest drivers in the nation are perhaps getting the message that distracted driving is dangerous, with almost three quarters of 16 to 17 year olds saying that they've completely stopped the use of mobile devices while driving. The vast majority of drivers between the ages of 60 and 65 have completely stopped using mobile devices as well.

Youngest and Oldest Drivers are Less Distracted

  • Seventy-five percent of drivers ages 16 to 17, and 72 percent of drivers ages 60 to 65, say they have completely eliminated all smart phone activities while driving.
  • This may be explained by the fact that the top parental restriction on teenage drivers is not allowing the use of mobile phones while driving.
Phone Calls and Texting

  • While stopped at a red light, almost two-thirds of drivers admitted to making phone calls and 8 in 10 drivers admitted to sending and checking for text messages.
  • Fifty percent of drivers say they make phone calls while driving in slow traffic or while driving on the open highway.

Smart Phone Distractions

  • Ten percent of drivers admitted to sending and reading emails or using their downloaded applications on their smart phones while operating their vehicles.
  • About three percent of drivers use their smart phones to take pictures and some even update their Twitter and Facebook pages while on the road.

Distracted Driver Behaviors

  • Less than one percent of all drivers say they received a ticket or a warning for using a mobile device or a smart phone in the past year.
  • 8 in 10 drivers reported never being distracted or even coming close to having an accident as a result of using their mobile device while driving.

A Trend in Decline?

  • Fifty percent of drivers say they have completely eliminated all smart phone activities while driving.
  • Thirty-two percent of drivers say they use their smart phones to call, text and email less than they used to.

"The National Drivers Test results, unveiling America's smart phone usage on the road, suggest that the 34 state-wide ban on texting while driving is having a positive influence on drivers," said Stan Parker, VP of Marketing, GMAC Insurance. "We hope that by calling attention to distracted driving habits this dangerous activity will be practiced less and less and that drivers will continue to place their attention on the roads to stay safe."

About The GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test

The 7th Annual GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test polled 5,130 licensed drivers ages 16-65, from 50 states and the District of Columbia. The 2011 test gauged driver knowledge by administering 20 questions taken from state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) exams. The test was administered online by TNS, the world's largest custom research agency. National data was weighted to percentages of state populations.

Think you're smarter than the average driver? Take the GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test.

Test your driving smarts at www.gmacinsurance.com where you can take the survey and challenge friends to top your score. Facebook users can take the National Drivers Test Facebook quiz and challenge their friends.

For more information about GMAC Insurance or to find a local independent agent or broker, call 877-468-3466 or visit www.gmacinsurance.com.

About GMAC Insurance Personal Lines Group

GMAC Insurance Personal Lines Group is one of the largest automobile insurers in the United States. GMAC Insurance Personal Lines Group offers property and casualty products, including personal auto, RV, motorcycle, commercial auto and homeowners insurance. With a nationwide network of claims professionals, local independent agents and brokers and a 24-hour, toll-free claims hotline available 365 days a year, GMAC Insurance provides superior claims service for its customers.

About TNS

TNS is the global leader in custom market research delivering actionable insights and research-based business advice to clients around the globe so they can make more effective business decisions. TNS offers comprehensive industry knowledge within the Consumer, Technology, Finance, Automotive and Political & Social sectors, supported by a unique product offering that stretches across the entire range of marketing and business issues, specializing in product development & innovation, brand & communication, stakeholder management, retail & shopper, and qualitative research. Delivering best-in-class service across more than 80 countries, TNS is dedicated to discovering growth opportunities for its clients in an ever-changing world. Through its pioneering and innovative culture, TNS understands the latest marketing challenges and research techniques, being the first to discover and solve new marketing issues for clients.

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TNS is part of Kantar, one of the world's largest insight, information and consultancy networks.

Please visit www.tnsglobal.com for more information.