NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Every year thousands of Americans die in accidents caused by distracted driving.
And while a new survey found that most people know texting and checking email behind the wheel is dangerous, a growing number do it anyway.
Steff Demaya engaged with a cellphone on the road, and now she is learning how to walk all over again.
“That’s where they cut it,” she told CBS2’s Meg Baker.
Her leg was injured and later amputated after she crashed her car. She admitted that she was distracted, and reaching for her ringing cell phone.
“I reached down to grab it on the floor board, just that quick,” she said.
Even though many drivers recognize how distracting cell phones can be behind the wheel, and support measures to crackdown on using them, new data shows that the problem is only getting worse.
“If you know this to be distracting, why are you doing it? These additional activities are troubling,” said Chris Mullen director of technology research at State Farm.
A new State Farm survey found the number of people texting while driving has remained relatively stable since 2009, but it found that more than twice as many drivers surf the internet. Reading emails and checking social media accounts while driving are also up.
A Colorado man has created a device that could stop the problem. It’s called The Groove, it’s a small box that plugs into almost any modern car.
The Groove blocks the driver’s phone from sending or receiving data. Phone calls will go through, but no texts, emails, or social media. The system won’t deliver them until the car is turned off.
It also means that mobile networks need to cooperate, something that, despite years of succesful testing and demonstrations hasn’t happened.
“You cannot imagine how frustrating it’s been. And I can’t watch the public service announcements because we’re standing on something that can stop that. It’s hard to watch them and know that you’re in the middle of something and you want it to be out there,” Scott Tibbitts said. “Being a parent, I cannot imagine getting a phone call that says there’s been an accident.”
While mobile companies may be hesitant to work with the device, its creators said it works with any phone and any car made after 1996.
Groove does not require an app.
While 98 percent of drivers surveyed believe that texting while driving is dangerous, 66 percent admit to doing it.