Some 60 percent of drivers in China have experienced distraction while driving, with their mobile phone the biggest culprit, according to a survey by Ford Motor Company and Tsinghua University.
The study, which involved 700 respondents in the country, showed people tried to avoid using their mobile phones but failed. Passengers were another major reason of distraction.
The top three reasons of using a mobile phone while behind the steering wheel were answering a call from family members, stuck in a traffic jam or waiting for green light, and answering a call from colleagues or replying to their emails.
About 33 percent of people without children said they were involved in an accident or had a near miss because of distracted driving, while the figure rose to 39 percent when it came to parents.
Li Xianjun, a professor of automotive engineering at Tsinghua University, said the findings are helpful to learn about Chinese drivers' habits and therefore important for the government to improve traffic laws and for automakers to optimize car designs.
Cynthia Williams, director of sustainability, environment and safety engineering at Ford Asia Pacific, said Ford views safety as its top priority and is committed to raising people's awareness of road safety.
Statistics from the World Health Organization show that each year some 1.25 million people are killed and 20 million to 50 million are injured in traffic accidents worldwide, while using a phone while driving is four times more likely to cause a traffic accident than not using it.