Study: Teen Drivers Surf the Web and Worse

Insurance analysis says it's a worse problem than texting

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Experts say texting is bad enough, but now many teen drivers are also surfing the web while driving. State Farm Insurance says 48 percent of people aged 18 to 29 have used the internet on their cell phones while behind the wheel. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Northridge for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on November 27, 2012. (Published Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012)

    Cal State Northridge student Steven Swede admits he's done it. And he's not alone.

    Surfing the web and using handheld devices is common among young drivers. Darryl Prangas, for example, snapped a photo of a car he liked and uploaded it to Instagram, all while he was driving.

    "Yeah, and you just click and you post it," he said.

    No big deal, right?

    That's how a lot of young people feel according to a new study by State Farm Insurance. State Farm said 48 percent of those surveyed between the ages of 18 and 29 have surfed the web while driving.

    Three years ago, a similar survey reported 29 percent doing the same thing.

    "Because there's so much traffic, and I'm just sitting there, and there's nothing else to do," said Steven Swede, 21.

    California Highway Patrol Officer Ming Hsu said it's as big a threat as drunken driving or the other popular activity for some drivers, texting.

    "Your absolute attention is totally off the roadway," said Officer Hsu.

    Young drivers have a well documented sense of invincibility and a lack of driving experience.

    "Just to get that car down the road is 'multi-tasking,'" Hsu said. "And now you're throwing other things into it."

    Not every young driver is surfing the web or texting. Samantha Bermudez, 19, told NBC4 she doesn't use Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

    "No, I don't have any of that," she said .

    Nabyl Rojas, 24, told NBC4 she had a close call while texting behind the wheel and it changed her behavior for good.

    "I don't want the temptation of even hearing it, so I keep it on 'silent,'" she says.

    And "silent" is the best thing a driver can hear to keep concentration behind the wheel.