News | Driving Insights

More than half of car crashes caused by phone use, study says
April 10, 2017

More than half of recent car crashes studied by a software company occurred because the driver was distracted by their cellphone, according to the company’s research released April 3.

Scientists at Massachusetts-based software company Cambridge Mobile Telematics based their research on drives that occurred while using CMT’s apps, looking at 1,000 verified real-world crashes, “tens of thousands” of near crashes, and “billions of miles” of driving with CMT’s apps. They found that phone-related distraction occurred during 52 percent of the trips that ended in a crash.

Texting, social media and email use were the three most common forms of phone distraction cited. Of those drives that resulted in a crash, CMT’s study stated the distraction lasted for 135 seconds on average.

Phone use lasted for more than a minute in 40 percent of the distracted drives, the study stated. The study shows phone use lasted more than 2 minutes for 20 percent of distracted drives. These distractions also occur during high speeds, with 29 percent of them happening at speeds exceeding 56 mph.

Research also shows people who use their phone the most while driving are six times more likely to crash than the least distracted drivers. The findings come after the National Safety Council found that fatalities on U.S. roads increased by 14 percent since 2015, which would be the largest two-year increase in five decades.

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