More than half of drivers (55%) said they always or often read or send texts while behind the wheel, according to a recent State Farm survey.
Distracted driving continues to rank among one the worst dangers on our nation’s roadways. Cell phones remain one of biggest culprits. The latest data indicates that people just can’t seem to keep their hands off their phones.
For example, 51% of respondents admit to holding the phone while talking — when their hands should be on the wheel. Nearly half (49%) of respondents said they interact with apps while driving and at least two in five drivers admitted to watching videos or manually dialing the phone while operating their vehicle. Finally, one-third of drivers reported using video chat or recording video while driving.
But cell phones aren’t the only distraction — just the most common one. The survey indicates that drivers are doing all kinds of activities behind the wheel rather than focusing on the task at hand.
For instance, 33% of drivers said they dropped something and leaned over to retrieve it, 30% stared at a crashed vehicle, 21% said they contended with a bug, bird or rodent inside the vehicle, and 20% were distracted by a pet moving around in the front seat.
Music and food are common distractions, too. The State Farm survey revealed that 40% of drivers played music very loudly in their cars —which can inhibit a driver’s ability to be acutely aware of what’s happening on the roadway ahead. In addition, some 12% admitted to eating food using both hands while behind the wheel.
Distracted driving is sloppy, dangerous driving. It’s taking your eyes off the road and your hands off the wheel. Consider this fact: Some 16% of drivers surveyed were so busy doing something else with their hands that they used their knee to control the steering wheel.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,142 people lost their lives to distracted driving on U.S. highways and byways in 2020 alone.