Zendrive Study Reveals Driver Phone Use Is 100 Times Worse Than Previous Estimates
And the data suggests that it's only getting worse
Apr 20, 2018, 09:00 ET
SAN FRANCISCO, April 20, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- According to the newly released 2018 Distracted Driving Snapshot from Zendrive, over 60 percent of people use their phones at least once while behind the wheel on an average day. Based on US Census data, this means that at least 69 million drivers use their phones while driving. Previous National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates suggested that during daylight hours, approximately 660,000 people use cell phones while driving. The reality is more than 100 times worse than this previous estimate.
Zendrive studied driver phone use from December 2017 through February 2018, analyzing anonymized data from 4.5 million drivers who covered 7.1 billion miles on the road. Phone use while driving was tracked when the car was moving and the phone handled by the driver for various purposes such as talking, texting, or navigating. Zendrive did not include phone use data in the study for when the vehicle was stopped, parked, or otherwise idle.
Zendrive's 2018 Distracted Driving Snapshot is a follow-up study to a similar report released by the company in 2017. When comparing the new data to the data collected for the 2017 report, Zendrive found that distracted driving increased in every state except Vermont. It also increased in every city and metropolitan area that was studied.
Other findings of the study include:
- The average amount of phone use behind the wheel has increased 3 minutes and 40 seconds; this is an increase of 10 seconds from 2017.
- Vermont is the only state saw a reduction in driver phone use: The 2018 study showed that drivers in the Green Mountain State spent 6.54% of their time behind the wheel on their phones; this is down from 7.42% in 2017.
- Oregon remained the least distracted state: While they maintained the top spot in Zendrive's state-by-state rankings for least distracted state, Oregon saw an increase in driver phone use to 5.24%; up from 3.69% in 2017
- Phone bans have little impact on phone use: 16 states ban drivers from using handheld phones, but even in nearly all of these states, phone use is on the rise
- Phone use occurs most often at the start of each trip: The majority of driver phone use is in the first 5 percent of the drive, when drivers are transitioning to the vehicle operation
"The data collected in our latest study reveals a great deal about the behavior of drivers who use their phones when their eyes should be on the road," said Jonathan Matus, Zendrive CEO and co-founder. "If drivers can remember to send that last text, set their map destination, or cue up their favorite playlist before they back out of the driveway, they can help to keep the roads safer for everyone."
Zendrive's complete 2018 Distracted Driving Snapshot is available for download at zendrive.com. State- and city-specific driving data, as well as supporting graphs and images, are available upon request.
Zendrive is a mission-driven company, working to make roads safe using data and analytics. We conducted this study in support of national Distracted Driving Awareness month and to mark our 100-billionth mile of driver behavior data measured and analyzed.
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