The Rise of Distracted Driving

By April 11, 2017 No Comments

Distracted Driving is a major contributor to the increase in road fatalities. This worldwide epidemic claims the lives of thousands of drivers each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 8 people are killed and 1,161 people are injured each day in crashes that involve a distracted driver.

Phones bring more opportunities for distraction:
If it seems like everyone is on their phone these days, it’s because they are. According to the Pew Research Institute, 95% of all U.S. adults own a cellphone, and 77% own a smartphone.  Smartphone adoption continues to increase an average of 14% each year.  This is true across all demographics regardless of educational or economic status.  

With phones becoming smarter, the number of distractions continue to increase, making this an even more deadly concern. Not only is texting or hand-held talking a serious issue, but some drivers have even admitted to playing games or using social media apps while driving.  A study by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) reported that two out of three teens (68 percent) admitted to using apps while driving.

The average driver takes his or her eyes off the road for 3-5 seconds, which can be the length of a football field if traveling down the highway at 55 MPH or more.  This is especially alarming, given that AAA reports that distraction “latency”, the amount of time it takes for a driver to fully engage after distraction, lasts an average of 27 seconds.  For a distracted driver, the time it takes to refocus could literally be the difference between life or death.

Risky behavior:
Distracted driving also makes drivers more likely to get into a collision. At CMT, we’ve analyzed millions of trips from our DriveWell program and found the following statistics:

  • Distracted driving occurred during 52 percent of trips that resulted in a crash – 25 percent of distraction occurred within one minute of a crash
  • On drives that involved a crash, the average duration of distraction was 135 seconds
  • Phone distraction lasts for two minutes or more on 20 percent of drives with distraction, and often occurs at high speeds: 29 percent at speeds exceeding 56 miles per hour
  • The worst 10 percent of distracted drivers are 2.3 times more likely to be in a crash than the average driver, and 5.8 times more likely than the best 10 percent of distracted drivers