Distracted driving up 10% compared to 2018, study says

Yet another study shows drivers can't stop looking at their phones.

Jake Holmes Reviews Editor
While studying traditional news journalism in college, Jake realized he was smitten by all things automotive and wound up with an internship at Car and Driver. That led to a career writing news, review and feature stories about all things automotive at Automobile Magazine, most recently at Motor1. When he's not driving, fixing or talking about cars, he's most often found on a bicycle.
Jake Holmes
2 min read
Distracted driving

Despite knowing the risks, more drivers are using their phones behind the wheel.

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Does it seem like you're seeing increasing numbers of drivers paying more attention to their phones than the road? The data agrees, with a new study released Tuesday by driving behavior analytics company Zendrive reporting that drivers are 10% more distracted now than in 2018 -- in every city, in every state that Zendrive analyzed.

The study is based on anonymized data from 1.8 million drivers covering a combined 4.5 billion miles on the road. The information was collected through Zendrive's phone software, which can monitor driver behavior and warn if a driver is engaging in too many risky activities on their phone. Worse still, the data showed that "phone addicts" -- people Zendrive characterizes as using their phone more than 10% of the time while driving -- "actively ignore the road" for about 28% of the time they're behind the wheel.

Zendrive's data show that the most common phone distractions were talking, texting, using navigation apps or selecting music -- all the things you'd expect might draw a motorists' eyes from freeway to phone.

A study of 500 people found that the risks of distracted driving are not exactly a mystery, with Zendrive reporting 85% of respondents said it is "a problem." Yet 47% of respondents said they used their phones 10% of the time while at the wheel.

Zendrive's study echoes a report released in January by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study, which found in a 2017 survey that drivers in Northern Virginia were 57% more likely to be using a phone than was found in 2014. The bottom line: more people are using their phones while driving, even despite knowing the risks.

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