Business & Economy

California drivers using cell phones more often, study says

Researchers fanned out across the state and literally watched cars drive by for a study.
Researchers fanned out across the state and literally watched cars drive by for a study.
Lord Jim/Flickr Creative Commons

Drivers in California can't seem to put their cell phones on hold.

A study released Tuesday reported that 9.2 percent of drivers were using phones to talk, text or otherwise take away their attention during observations earlier this year. That was up from 6.6 percent of drivers in 2014.

The study was done for the state's Office of Traffic Safety and transportation experts at the University of California, Berkeley. Researchers fanned out across the state and literally watched cars drive by.

At nearly 13 percent of drivers, Sonoma County had the highest rate.

Safety officials expressed concern about the statewide rise, though the 2015 numbers were not as bad as 2012, when observers found nearly 11 percent of California drivers fiddling with their phones.