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Facebook 'addiction' blamed for increased phone use while driving

Technically Incorrect: A UK government study blames an addiction to social networks for a vast increase in driving while viewing cell phones.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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One multitasker captured in Aberdeen, Scotland Aberdeen Cycle Cam/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Do you think that those who text or otherwise use their phones while driving must be doing something important?

Perhaps you wouldn't think it important, but surely they do.

Yet a UK government study now shows just how important some of these things must be. For it blames a social networking "addiction" for a 50 percent rise in the use of phones behind the wheel since 2008.

I fancy these figures a touch conservative.

The study says that 1.6 percent of drivers use their phones while in control of a car. I somehow think the truth is nearer 10 times that, if my experiences in California and the UK are anything to go by.

It seems that so many drivers are constantly looking down and looking up, as if the idea of multitasking on the freeway is but one more right of technological passage.

The most unsurprising statistic offered by this survey is that those aged 17-29 are the champions (together with Scottish van drivers) of the practice -- as much as four times more likely.

Of all those surveyed, almost 70 percent were either checking a social network or texting. Which seems quite a remarkable dereliction of sanity. Men were observed performing this multitasking more often than women.

Perhaps the classic example of such a multitasker was recently filmed by an astonished cyclist in Scotland.

The survey, covering 2014, was conducted in 90 different places in England and Scotland. Some of the surveying was done while cars were stationary and some while on the move. The work was only done on mornings and afternoons.

It's always easy to point to those who have been caught or, worse, been involved in an accident thanks to their careless use of phones while driving.

But in an era where the vast majority of people seem to walk down the streets staring down at their phones, what realistically can be done to change behavior?

(Via The Telegraph)