The following information comes to us from the Harris Poll people, specifically from their Health Day Poll, Nov. 2011.  The results are frightening, and will remind us of how important the message of safety and awareness for safe riding is. 

Specifically 86 percent of adults admitted to eating/drinking while driving, 59 percent talk on a non-hands-free cell phone, 41 percent set or adjust their GPS device, and 37 percent text. Additionally, a quarter of respondents said they have driven after having two or more drinks, and 44 percent said they’ve felt sleepy while driving, “sometimes even momentarily dozing off.” Smaller percentages (7 and 12 percent, respectively) said they drive this way “sometimes or often.”

Today’s Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll also uncovered other common driving distractions:

  •   Reading a map: 36 percent admitted doing so, and 10 percent do it often or
  •   Combing/styling hair: one in five drivers acknowledged doing this at least once;
      nearly 1 in 10 does it more regularly.
  •   Applying makeup: 14 percent have done it at least once, 7 percent say they do it   frequently.
  •   Surfing the Internet: 13 percent have done so while driving and 9 percent do it
  •   Watching videos (on a mobile device or in-board system): 7 percent say they do   this “often or sometimes.”

“The number of drivers who engage in potentially dangerous, in some cases extremely dangerous, behaviors while driving is terrifyingly high, particularly when you remember that every 1 percent of drivers polled represents more than one-and-three-quarters of a million people,” said Humphrey Taylor, chairman of The Harris Poll.

“While we have some information on how dangerous some of these behaviors are (driving after drinking, talking on cell phones, falling asleep, texting) we can only speculate as to the numbers of accidents and deaths that are caused by the many millions of people who drive while setting their GPS, eating or drinking, surfing the Internet, watching videos, combing their hair, reading or applying makeup,” added Taylor.

The survey also turned up a puzzling disconnect: While big percentages of drivers agree that distracting behaviors are dangerous, many still engage in them.

The poll included 2,810 U.S adults over age 18 who were surveyed online between November 10 to 14, 2011, byHarris Interactive, one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, and HealthDay, a leading producer and syndicator of health news.

The complete findings of the newest joint Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll are available here.  HealthDay’s news report is available here. Full data on the poll and its methodology are available at Harris Interactive.