The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Distracted Driving Causes Nearly 40% of Accidents

Two studies show driver distraction due to technology is still a key factor in accidents, although most respondents claim use only in stopped traffic. Regulations and media attention have resulted in reduced technology use while driving.

October 2010, by Brittany-Marie Swanson

Click here for a PDF of the full article, including charts.

As distracted driving laws rise in an increasing number of states, fleet managers should look to the habits of their own drivers. By studying statistics and information about driver tendencies, fleet managers can create stronger policies to reduce distracted driving liability.

In 2010, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company conducted two studies on distracted driving. The data was collected via Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) from sample sizes of about 1,000 drivers. Interviewers adhered to quotas to ensure an accurate representation of male and female adult respondents in each regional sample.

The results were tabulated to replicate actual population distribution by age, gender, education, ethnicity, household size, number of telephone lines, and region, according to the March 2007 U.S. Current Population Survey.

Four in 10 Accidents a Result of Technological Distraction

According to the Nationwide study conducted in July, about four in 10 respondents (38 percent) claim to have been hit or nearly hit as a result of other drivers being distracted by cell phones or other technology. Of respondents claiming to have been hit or nearly hit, a larger percentage were 55 and older. In addition, higher numbers were reported in the South and West than in the East and Midwest.

Claimed Use Rates While Driving are Low

Claimed use rates of cell phone technologies for the majority of people who have access to them are rather low.

When asked about their usage of specific technologies on cell phones while driving, 32 percent of respondents said they used GPS, 21 percent sent text messages, 18 percent received e-mail, and 10 percent sent an e-mail.

An earlier study in May conducted for Nationwide Insurance found that while people have seen fellow drivers texting behind the wheel, eight in 10 drivers claim to have never texted while driving. In fact, less than a handful appear to be avid texters. Ninety-four percent of respondents said they rarely or never texted on a cell phone while driving. This number was characteristically highest among older drivers, with those age 55 and older at 97 percent. In contrast, 53 percent of those under 35 claimed they had never texted while driving.

Of those respondents who have access to the top three most widely used cell phone technologies (e-mail, text, and GPS), most claim to use them while the vehicle was not moving, either at stop lights or in stopped traffic.

However, the percentage of respondents who used these cell phone technologies while moving was still disturbingly high. Overall, about half of respondents admitted to using these technologies on a four-lane highway, while a slightly smaller, although comparable, percentage admitted to using them on a two-lane road. 

According to the survey, technology use was lowest while driving in inclement weather. Thirty-eight percent admitted to receiving e-mail, 27 percent to text messaging, and 25 percent to using a GPS device.

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  1. 1. emma [ March 21, 2013 @ 09:13AM ]

    thats crazy

  2. 2. Chris [ April 09, 2013 @ 06:13AM ]

    Each one of these crashes should be treated as a drunk driving crash. Both are caused by drivers knowingly hampering their ability to drive.

    Maybe MADD should stop trying to stop a guy from having 2 beers instead of 1 and jump on this? Clearly a bigger fish to fry if they truly cared about road safety.

  3. 3. Anthony Radej [ October 10, 2013 @ 01:42PM ]

    If people can't learn to control themselves and just turn off their phone, there are other options out there. Safe Mobile Systems offers an app that basically shuts down your phone (except emergency numbers) if you are driving. People need to realize their limitations and take necessary steps to prevent these tragedies.

  4. 4. andy [ May 24, 2014 @ 04:06PM ]

    With the official stats showing (for USA) that there are 3300 out of 34,000 death annually, I''d believe 10% not 40%! And that 3300 distracted deaths includes all distractions - grooming, eating, so I'd say that technology distractions might be responsible for 4 out of 10 distracted driver deaths. But 40% of all deaths is pure BS!

  5. 5. Bowen Deng [ October 27, 2015 @ 06:49AM ]

    Some of the tragic accidents happened, because drivers were likely paying more attention on GPS than the road; some of these happened, because drivers just blindly trusted their GPS devices instead of their own sense of direction. For example, Iftifhar Hussain, 64, drove the couple’s 2014 Nissan Sentra off East Chicago’s Cline Avenue bridge, which closed in 2009 and is barricaded with bright orange barrels and cones. The car burst into flames after the 37-foot plunge into pavement below. he was blindly following directions from his GPS navigation system, which instructed him to turn onto a ramp to the now-demolished bridge over the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal.

    Relying too much on GPS has potential to eventually cause harm to people. So, it won’t be a bad thing for any of us to walk around in our city and start practicing our own sense of direction.

  6. 6. Bowen Deng [ October 27, 2015 @ 06:50AM ]

    Some of the tragic accidents happened, because drivers were likely paying more attention on GPS than the road; some of these happened, because drivers just blindly trusted their GPS devices instead of their own sense of direction. For example, Iftifhar Hussain, 64, drove the couple’s 2014 Nissan Sentra off East Chicago’s Cline Avenue bridge, which closed in 2009 and is barricaded with bright orange barrels and cones. The car burst into flames after the 37-foot plunge into pavement below. he was blindly following directions from his GPS navigation system, which instructed him to turn onto a ramp to the now-demolished bridge over the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal.

    Relying too much on GPS has potential to eventually cause harm to people. So, it won’t be a bad thing for any of us to walk around in our city and start practicing our own sense of direction.

 

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