'Damn Near Everybody' Uses Phones While Driving

Zendrive shares concerning numbers in largest distracted-driving analysis yet
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2017 8:33 AM CDT
Drivers Use Phones on 88% of Car Rides
The number of us who use our phones while driving is concerning.   (AP Photo/LM Otero)

An eyebrow-raising new study assesses the extent of distracted driving, with stats revealing just how many people use their cellphones while behind the wheel. "Damn near everybody … damn near all the time," Wired concludes after reviewing the Zendrive report, which the driving analytics company says is the biggest distracted-driving study done so far. (Even Zendrive CEO Jonathan Matus admits to Wired he's checked out his phone while driving "more than I care to admit.") Three months' worth of data was culled from more than 3 million unnamed drivers who took over 570 million car rides over 5.6 billion miles, and the numbers are staggeringly worrisome: Drivers used their cellphones on 88% of the trips they took, with average phone use coming in at 3.5 minutes per every hour of driving.

Just over three minutes may not seem like a huge chunk of time, but a 2015 Oregon State University study cited by PCMag.com found that taking your eyes off the road for only two seconds can up your chance of an accident by anywhere from four to 24 times. The study's sample means that over the whole US there may be up to 600 million trips each day that fall under the "distracted" umbrella. If you're planning a road trip anytime soon, Vermont ranks as the state with the most distracted drivers, while Oregon drivers pay the most attention to the road. Zendrive offers some good news: There seems to be correlation among states with laws banning handheld phone use by drivers and states with the lowest level of drivers actually using their phones behind the wheel—though such a law hasn't kept Vermont from its prime-offender spot. (Texting mars our "sixth sense" while driving.)

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