Talk about distracted driving . . .

Forget road rage. Nearly 1 in 3 drivers reports a little hanky-panky.

Posted by MSN Money_Edit Thursday, May 27, 2010 10:33:01 AM

This post comes from Des Toups of MSN Money.


Imagine what they could do with their hands free.

A survey by headset maker Jabra of 1,800 drivers in six countries found that 29% had kissed others while behind the wheel. And 15% had . . . done more than that. Only about half of respondents reported that they use a hands-free device for cell phones, Jabra laments.

Kinda makes the Big Mac and fries you juggled between shifting gears last night seem downright responsible.

Here's what else drivers owned up to:

  • Nearly three out of four (72%) admitted eating  regularly while driving.
  • 28% text.
  • Nearly 25% style their hair or change clothes.
  • 13% apply makeup.
  • 12% write or read e-mails.
  • 10% read newspapers or magazines.
  • 5% play video games.
  • 5% shave.

Nearly 6,000 Americans died in crashes involving distracted driving in 2008, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That's 16% of all traffic fatalities for that year. In addition, 500,000 were injured in 2008 in accidents involving some form of driver distraction, the U.S. Department of Transportation reports.


Jabra's survey covered France, Britain, Japan, Germany and Russia in addition to the U.S.; respondents were evenly split between the sexes. The survey included questions about 31 activities from sipping a beverage to hanky-panky. (The French apparently were big in "Other Activities: Yelling at other drivers.")

Though we can't turn up any specific laws against hanky-panky at 65 mph, penalties for merely texting range from a few hundred dollars to a potential criminal record if you kill or injure another because your busy Twitter schedule couldn't wait.

If you wonder what other drivers consider dangerous, here are the 31 activities classified by your peers on the highway:

Low risk:

  • Listening to music.
  • Listening to radio.
  • Talking with passengers.
  • Changing CDs, tapes, MP3 tracks, etc.
  • Drinking beverages.
  • Eating food.
  • Yelling at other drivers.
  • Operating a GPS system.
  • Smoking.
  • Listening to audio books.

Medium risk:

  • Talking on the phone (without a hands-free device).
  • Texting.
  • Changing shoes.
  • Applying makeup.
  • Taking off clothes.
  • Kissing.
  • Reading road maps.
  • Combing/doing hair.
  • Applying deodorant/perfume.
  • Brushing teeth.
  • Taking off jewelry.

High risk:

  • Writing/reading e-mails.
  • Sexual activity.
  • Working on laptop.
  • Reading newspapers or magazines.
  • Reading books.
  • Watching a movie.
  • Playing video games.
  • Browsing the Web.
  • Putting on clothes.
  • Shaving.

More from MSN Money:

Tags: accidentauto insurancecar insurancedininginsurance
5/28/2010 1:57 PM

Texting or talking on your cell phone without a handsfree device may not be the only distracted behavior that you you can get a ticket for in California. The following is the Basic Speed Law in California: 22350.  No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.

The last part of this law is critical to all who eat, shave, put on makeup, read, or anything else that causes you to be distracted to the point that it affects your driving. Put it this way; If you drive while doing something that distracts you so much so that you crossover some solid double yellow lines or start following a car too closely, you could be cited for speeding. Think of it this way; The courts have asked,  "What is the safe speed for doing something that removes your eyes from the roadway and your hands from the steering wheel so that your vehicle is not completely controlled at all times?" The answer is "0mph."

5/28/2010 2:51 AM

This article is nothing more than a page filler and has nothing of use to anyone.  If you read the information carefully you will see that the information is only about the fact that the information was reported and not necessarily the cause of the accidents or fatalities.  If you follow the links;


you can see a little more information (very little) and do the math you will see that it's not really a big a deal as they want you to think.  Having said that any accident is one too many even if no one gets killed, but the truth is it's impossible to drive without any kind of distractions and no one is immune to it.  After investigating hundreds of traffic accidents I can tell you that at least 80% maybe over 90% of all accidents would involve some form of distraction.  Anything can be a distraction ever if you are trying to avoid another drive that’s not paying attention, by definition that’s a distraction.  The highest cause of distraction accidents and fatalities is “gawker” that’s when you’re driving along and starts to look at something that is outside of your vehicle and then don’t pay attention to what you are doing.  Example: another auto accident, construction zones, that pedestrian about to walk out in front of you, all of these will and have caused accidents.  Happy Motoring.


5/27/2010 10:46 PM

Changing CDs and eating seem more medium/high risk. Although eating probably depends on the food involved.


Programming a GPS seems as bad as texting or emailing. Mine has a disclaimer that makes you click to agree that you won't mess with it while the car is moving.


Changing clothes/shoes is a neat trick that I would love to see someone try on a closed course (but definitely NOT in the car next to me). At least people are only at medium risk while getting undressed for sex. That makes me feel better. Sheesh.


Whether yelling at other drivers is high risk depends a lot on the other driver. In that case, it might actually be good if he or she is a little distracted....Open-mouthed


5/27/2010 3:22 PM
If 50 m.p.h. feels as if you're moving like a bat outta hell, please take the bus!
5/27/2010 3:13 PM
Well , nowhere did I see going to the bathroom on either risk activity.  On long trips tractor trailer drivers urinate into a tube that is in a empty milk jug as they are driving along.  No one can afford to stop their rig just to urinate.  On a long trip I myself have a urinal and granted you have to rise up in the seat slightly to use it but it beats stopping.  I never had a problem with being distracted.  I know where everything is day or night by touch and I put the cap to the urinal always in the same place.  I've never had an accident (waterwise or automobile wise).  Now having to do number two is much more complicated so most drivers will pull into a truck stop for that or a rest area.  I myself have never attempted this feat while driving. 
5/27/2010 2:50 PM

I really don't want to die with a razor in my hand.

5/27/2010 2:49 PM
 It just reflects the "It's all about me" attitude people have these days. They don't care who they injure or kill as long as they have what they want and do what they want to do. I've had to swerve off the road to avoid being hit by people not paying attention while driving. It's insane with all the toys people have to play with while they should be focused on the tons of metal they are commanding. Some don't even seem to be aware they ran another off the road and probably wouldn't care anyway if they did. Makes me want to chase them down and give them an electronic suppository.
5/27/2010 2:42 PM

Here is The Deal:




All this cell phones and makeup and game-playing and whatever the hell else IS NOT PART OF THAT JOB. 


Don't kill someone because you were stupid.  Put away the crap, concentrate on driving and let EVERYONE LIVE.

5/27/2010 2:12 PM
elect me in '12 and will not permit phones to work while the engine is running.Beer mug
5/27/2010 1:58 PM

The only thing worse than being an idiot is being proud to be one!  Congrats to those who have gotten away with doing something stupid!  You remind me of the morons who tell me, "this is how we've always done it and I haven't gotten hurt yet!"


YET is the key word here.  For every fatality, there is about 10,000 close calls that could have, with a little bit of bad luck, ended in the same result.  Keep it up guys.  May the parents of the sweet little kid you kill because of your stupidity have mercy on you when you are sitting in the defendant's seat.

5/27/2010 1:53 PM
distracted drivers should be more aware of the other people that they are endangering. one way to discourage them and drive like responsible adults would be; if they get into an accident because they are distracted--their insurance company would only cover the other people and property they injure and/or damage. any of their own property damaged and medical expenses would NOT be covered. one accident could devastate them. this would most likely give them a WAKE-UP call. 
5/27/2010 1:36 PM
No texting here...nor shaving...nor anything having to do with the internet...but once, in the days of my youth, there was a bit of (oral) sex activity with me behind the wheel. Oh, and I once got pulled over for what the cop called "driving while embraced" because I had my arm around my girlfriend...the same one that I had the sexual activity with... 
5/27/2010 1:33 PM
I am guilty of every infraction on this list. So far no wrecks or tickets.
5/27/2010 1:15 PM
reading and writing emails is high risk, but texting is only medium risk...I fail to see the logic.
5/27/2010 1:05 PM
Where are the bratty screaming fighting kids on the list? They are more of distraction than my 5lb yorkie any day.
5/27/2010 1:04 PM
How is Texting and Writing E-mails in different categories.  Seems like both would be very high.
5/27/2010 1:04 PM
We're a nation of idiots. We do everything in our cars but just DRIVE.

 I recently helped a woman off a street where she'd fallen while crossing. As I approached her, she was trying to drag herself to the sidewalk, her books and papers all over the road, and people in their stopped cars just SAT there, watching her. Not one person got out of their car to help. To do so would no doubt have interrupted them as the flossed their teeth, texted, or cooked breakfast.

(We also do everything on our sidewalks but just WALK..)

5/27/2010 12:51 PM

From what some truckers have told me they see it all from way up there too.


Just because you aren't in their rear view mirrors doesn't mean they aren't watching. Open-mouthed

5/27/2010 12:44 PM
Having sex should be at the highest risk category.  Done it.  It is.
5/27/2010 12:38 PM
Where does driving with a dog in the driver's lap fit on the distraction ratings? Should be very dangerous.
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