We’ve all heard of the dangers of texting, tweeting or doing whatever else on your cell phone while driving, but it seems people aren’t heeding those warnings. Across the country, there’s actually been an increase in people driving while distracted, according to a new report.
“We did a similar analysis last year, and last year we observed the percentage of trips with distraction across the nation was 31 percent,” said Katherine Wellman of CMT. “This year, it’s up to 36 percent. It’s certainly increasing rather than decreasing, and that’s disconcerting.”
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and Wellman hopes that by releasing this report, people can be more mindful of their own behavior.
According to 2016 data, motor vehicle deaths increased 14 percent over two years, and distracted driving is a factor: drivers who have been in a crash exhibited 3.4 times more distraction while driving than the average driver, CMT found.
There are three main types of distraction behind the wheel: manual (like eating or holding a drink), visual (ie. taking your eyes off the road to change the radio) and cognitive (when your mind isn’t focused on driving).
“The concerning thing about smartphone distraction is that it actually usually includes two, if not all three, of these,” Wellman said. “If people are manually holding their phone, looking down at it, thinking about what they’re texting or reading, then all three of these are captured and as a result, it can be very, very dangerous.”