Drivers in Tennessee have no doubt seen distracted drivers on streets and highways, increasing the danger for a car accident to occur. As times have changed, so have the distractions available to less-than-careful drivers. In the old days, fiddling with a car radio or trying to light a cigarette might cause someone to veer into oncoming traffic. As technology has improved, so have the options for distraction: first cell phones and then texting have proved to be dangerous hazards.

Now, however, another threat has emerged: surfing the Internet while driving. According to a new survey, nearly half of drivers ages 18 to 29 admit to “webbing” while driving. The increase in recent years — thanks to the preponderance of smart phones — has been dramatic. The incidence of younger drivers checking their phones for information on the Web has jumped from 29 percent three years ago to 48 percent today.

As more and more states have laws in place outlawing texting while driving — or even using a phone without a hands-free device while driving — auto manufacturers and technology companies have been working to come up with alternatives for those drivers who can’t let a minute go by without their virtual lives at their fingertips.

Some of the features of the nascent technology permit it to be used only when a car is parked. However, some do allow voice-activated prompts that permit Facebook and Twitter updates to be read aloud to the driver. One application has built-in composed responses to enable a driver to appear engaged with a social media application even when they’re on the move.

Source: MSN Autos, “Distracted driving due to Web surfing is on the rise,” Douglas Newcomb, Nov. 26, 2012