Distracted driving

Cambridge Mobile Telematics reports increases in distracted driving caused an additional 420,000 crashes, 1,000 fatalities, and $10 billion in damages to the US economy in 2022

New report reveals distraction continues to surge, rising 23% since 2020
April 18, 2023

Cambridge, MA, April 18, 2023 — Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT), the world’s largest telematics service provider, today announced the availability of its 2023 distracted driving report: The State of Distracted Driving in 2023 & the Future of Road Safety. By almost every metric CMT measures, distracted driving is more prevalent than ever on US roadways. Drivers are spending more time interacting with their phones on more trips.

CMT’s data shows that every 10% increase in distracted driving kills over 420 people and costs the American economy $4 billion per year. With the 23% surge in distraction since 2020, CMT estimates that the increase in distracted driving caused an additional 420,000 crashes, 1,000 fatalities, and $10 billion in damages to the US economy in 2022.*

Drivers interacted with their phones on nearly 58% of trips in 2022, up from 54% in 2020. Screen interaction while driving reached 2 minutes and 12 seconds of every hour driving in 2022, a 23% increase over 2020. The increase in crashes when drivers interact with their screens is stark: The worst offenders are 240% more likely to crash than the safest drivers. 

The report includes new insights on the increased risk for drivers who interact with their phones while driving. Drivers who crash are twice as likely to interact with their phones the minute before the crash. Thirty-four percent of all drivers who crash interact with their phone in the minute before a crash. 

The report also features new data on the performance of handheld bans in eight states since 2018. On average, CMT’s data shows that in the first week after a handheld ban goes into effect, distracted driving falls 16% compared to the month before. After three months, the reduction is 13%. At the end of 2022, however, the average across the eight states was a 3% increase compared to before the law.

“Telematics technology enables efficient, population-level naturalistic driving behavior research, transforming highway safety planning and evaluation,” said Ryan McMahon, CMT’s SVP of Strategy. “No other methods provide insight into aggressive driving, speeding, and distracted driving risk, or the efficacy of ongoing safety programs at scale. With a greater understanding of what behaviors lead to crashes and the ability to analyze those behaviors across millions of drivers, we can bring new approaches to improve road safety for all.”

The report highlights how telematics helps reduce risky behaviors. In one study across 30,000 drivers, CMT found that drivers who received feedback on their distracted driving behaviors were 25% less distracted. In a separate study, CMT’s data shows that drivers who engage with their telematics app 3 times a week are 57% less distracted than unengaged drivers. A recent study of over 100,000 drivers reveals that engagement also helps improve behaviors over time: the most engaged drivers reduced time spent driving distracted by 20% after 2 months.

CMT’s report, The State of Distracted Driving in 2023 & the Future of Road Safety, is available now and can be downloaded at www.cmtelematics.com/distracted-driving-report-2023/.

About Cambridge Mobile Telematics

Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT) is the world’s largest telematics service provider. Its mission is to make the world’s roads and drivers safer. The company’s AI-driven platform, DriveWell®, gathers sensor data from millions of IoT devices — including smartphones, proprietary Tags, connected vehicles, dashcams, and third-party devices — and fuses them with contextual data to create a unified view of vehicle and driver behavior. Companies from personal and commercial auto insurance, automotive, rideshare, smart cities, wireless, financial services, and family safety industries use insights from CMT’s platform to power their risk assessment, safety, claims, and driver improvement programs. Headquartered in Cambridge, MA, with offices in Budapest, Chennai, Seattle, Tokyo, and Zagreb, CMT serves millions of people through over 95 programs in 25 countries, including 21 of the top 25 US auto insurers. Learn more at CMT.ai.

*Estimates based on the change in crash rate from distracted driving and data from NHTSA’s report The Economic and Societal Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2019: $340 billion in crash damages from 14.2 million crashes in 2019, averaging $23,954 per crash