If the results of a survey conducted by State Farm Insurance are accurate, it appears that the battle against distracted driving is like the old kid’s game “Whack-a-Mole”: just when we thought we were making progress by pounding away at texting while driving, another dangerous activity guaranteed to cause lots of accidents pops up: surfing the web while behind the wheel.

It should come as no surprise that young people are the biggest offenders: 48% of drivers 18 to 29 admit they access the Internet while driving. That’s up from 29% three years ago. More than 43% check their email while they are driving—up from 32% in 2009—and 30% say they update social network sites like Facebook and Twitter while cruising down the road.

The problem, however, isn’t limited to youngsters. The study shows that a growing number of older adults are also accessing the net, texting, and talking while driving. More than 50% of those between the ages of 30 and 64 text and/or talk when their undivided attention should be on the road and nearly 40% of drivers over age 65 are engaging in these hazardous activities.

The study did report one positive trend: the number of young people texting while driving actually fell from 71% to 69%. That’s still far too many, but it does demonstrate that the battle against distracted driving is having an impact. Unfortunately, the number of older Americans who engage in the practice has, not unexpectedly, grown as the number of people in this age group who own smartphones has increased. The rise in cell phone and handheld use among people aged 30 and above has fueled a four-percent increase in distracted driving over the past two years.

To view charts illustrating the survey findings visit our Facebook page.

Safety experts are deeply concerned about the increase in the number of people of all ages who are accessing the net while driving. That’s because emailing, updating Facebook and/or Twitter, and surfing the web distract drivers for longer periods of time than texting. This fact that will inevitably lead to a substantial increase in accidents, injuries, and deaths.

For that reason we again implore you to talk to your kids about the dangers associated with distracted driving. Lay down hard and fast rules prohibiting texting or accessing the web when they are behind the wheel and make sure there are consequences, including taking away their keys or suspending their driving privileges if they violate the rules.

In addition, it’s critically important for parents to set a good example. Don’t use your handhelds when driving, especially if your kids are in the car. When it comes to distracted driving the stakes are too high for “Do as I say, not as I do” lectures. Teach by doing the right thing—it could save your kids’ lives as well as your own.

Finally, if you or a member of your family are involved in an accident with a distracted, impaired, or careless driver, call the experienced attorneys at Anzellotti, Sperling, Pazol & Small to arrange a free consultation BEFORE you speak with an insurance adjuster or sign papers sent to you by an insurance company. We’ll evaluate your case, provide you with sound advice, and help you fight for justice and the financial settlement you need and deserve.