40% of Drivers Want Vehicles Internet Wired, But Restricted; yet 50% Admit to Illegally Phoning/Texting while Driving, According to Autobytel’s “What’s Hot Now?” Report

Drivers Under 35 More Likely to Be in Accidents Caused by a Wired Device
Irvine, CA – June 28, 2010 – A new Autobytel “What’s Hot Now?” report, Wired-in-the-Car, released as part of National Safe Driving Month reveals that not only are phoning and texting while driving still serious issues, but distracted driving has the potential to exponentially increase as Echo Boomers (35 and under) increasingly hit the road with their iPhones, iPads and various other mobile Web-surfing devices. Furthermore, the report indicates that Echo Boomers have little interest in technology from auto manufacturers that improves the safety of having wired devices and built-in electronics in their new cars.
Wired-in-the-Car, based on a snapshot survey(1) of consumers who visit Autobytel’s network of sites, indicates that drivers continue to be conflicted between their desire to be “plugged-in,” with 40% overall wanting the Internet in their vehicles; their concerns about safety, with 87% believing in-vehicle Web access is a safety issue; and their actual behavior, with over 50% still admitting to, at some point, illegally texting/phoning while driving (even though 95% want the Internet banned or restricted in vehicles).
Industry predictions are that 90% of vehicles will have some form of wireless connectivity by 2016 (2); however, 50% of Wired-in-the-Car respondents predict that that reality will come much sooner – by 2013.  Not surprisingly, the report indicates that Echo Boomers are both less likely to want a ban on Internet access/use in their cars (64% say no) and far more likely to be in an accident caused by an in-car electronic device (with twice as many accidents as those over 35). Survey respondents overwhelmingly support laws that restrict texting while driving in every state (90%), but only 3% of respondents have ever been ticketed for using a cell phone or texting while driving.
Sixty-eight percent of Echo Boomers indicate that the ability to surf the Internet in their car was either “very important” or “nice to have.” However, technology that would make in-vehicle use of electronic devices safer is not a high priority for survey respondents, with only 8% of Echo Boomers (and 14% of respondents overall) favoring voice controlled mobile interfaces that minimize distractions, versus 30% that chose GPS navigation as the device/accessory they don’t currently have in the car but would like.
In a 2009 study, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that nearly 6,000 people died in car crashes involving a distracted driver, and more than half a million people were injured. Distracted driving in 2010, according to Autobytel’s What’s Hot Now? report is potentially even more threatening, with 35% of respondents either having been in an accident – or seriously close to being in an accident – involving a driver distracted by using a technology device such as a cell phone, iPod, etc. while driving.
Autobytel’s What’s Hot Now? reports regularly measure and analyze consumer trends, opinions and attitudes about the automotive experience, in realtime, by polling automotive consumers who visit autobytel.com and its affiliated websites.
For more information on Autobytel’s What’s Hot Now? reports and Autobytel’s Wired-in-the-Car snapshot survey, or to speak to an Autobytel expert, contact: Melanie Webber, mWEBB Communications, 424.603.4340 (melanie@mwebbcom.com) or Jim Helberg, Autobytel Inc., 949.862.1395 (jimh@autobytel.com).
To read more Autobytel Distracted Driving articles click here:
(1)  Autobytel’s ”Wired-in-the-Car” snapshot survey was conducted on Autobytel’s network of consumer automotive sites, including autobytel.com, in May 2010.  Nearly 2,000 consumers responded to the survey.
(2)  According to market analysis firm Strategy Analytics, almost 90% of vehicles produced in North America and Europe will have some form of wireless connectivity in 2016.



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