Smartphones cause dumb problem

Maybe I’m a cautionary tale. Maybe I’m not.

Maybe I’m a case study. Maybe I’m not. But I’m certainly part of the problem.

A recent study by AT&T showed that 7-in-10 people use their smartphones while driving.

Smartphone activitiesConfession: I am one of those seven people. And on practically every trip I make, regardless of its duration. I’ve never had an accident, nor have I ever caused one. Apparently, I’m really good at doing something stupid.

Texting and driving is hardly a new problem, but my smartphone does way more than text. Way more. And so does yours.

AT&T’s research showed nearly 4-in-10 smartphone users use social media while driving. I do that. another nealry 3-in-10 surf the Internet. I do that, too. And surprisingly, 1-in-10 video chat. That’s not me. I don’t know who the video chat person is. That guy’s an idiot.

Apparently, our need to be connected is rubbing off on our kids in part because we’re forcing it on them. Released Tuesday, a joint study conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and the non-profit Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), shows more than half the 1,600-plus high school juniors and seniors surveyed say they text from behind the wheel to update their parents on their whereabouts.

About 20 percent say their parents have an expectation of response within a minute. Maybe that minute is sitting at a red light. Maybe it’s barreling down the Interstate at 75 miles an hour.

When I turned 16, cell phones were far from the norm. None of my friends had one, and the phones that were available didn’t take pictures. Half the time they wouldn’t make phone calls.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was 12 years old. There was nothing to “Like” or “Share.”

All I had to do was drive.

Most of the time, I grab my phone while driving without even thinking about it. It’s an afterthought. I read these stats like a checklist. “I’ve done that. And that. That, too.” By the end I was pretty ashamed of myself. I think it’s cool that you can watch television from a satellite feed directly to your pickup or answer your phone via bluetooth synced with your radio, but while our phones have gotten smarter, it doesn’t appear our driving habits have.