Some 47% of drivers classify themselves as a “multitasking driver” because they typically do something else simultaneously while behind the wheel, according to a recent survey from Netradyne.
Smartphones remain the top distraction for these multitaskers — with 59% admitting they use them while operating their vehicle. Eating is another favorite distraction, with 37% of those surveyed saying they chow down while driving.
Noteworthy, for the general public, both children and pets pose a high degree of distraction when on the road. Among parents behind the wheel, smartphones were still the number one driver distraction at 65%, but their children were a close second at 60%. Moreover, 20% of all surveyed drivers claimed to be distracted by their pets when driving.
Perhaps most alarmingly, the survey finds that people are actually comfortable with multitasking while driving. In fact, one in five drivers believe they are actually better drivers when multitasking.
The survey also explores where distracted driving tends to occur most frequently. While 40% of drivers claim they most often fall victim to bad driving behavior in their own neighborhood, side streets came in as a close second (35%), followed by major highways (23%).
On the upside, drivers tend to put their smartphones down in select situations. Over 60% of respondents said they forgo the phone when driving next to a school bus. Some 58% ditched the cell when driving near bicycles, 57% when next to motorcycles, and 51% when adjacent to delivery trucks.
The survey results clearly indicate that distracted driving remains a pressing problem among the general population on our nation’s roads. In 2021 alone, distracted driving claimed the lives of 3,522 people across the country, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
While all stakeholders — safety advocates, legislators, law enforcement, and motorists — must do their part to eliminate distracted driving, commercial fleets, have an opportunity to lead the charge.
Fleets Tap Technology to Combat Multitasking
Netradyne is a SaaS provider of artificial intelligence (A.I.) and edge computing solutions focused on safety and driver coaching for commercial fleets. In an effort to illustrate how technology can help combat distracted driving, the company also released data from its commercial carrier customers at the same time it released the consumer driver survey findings.
While the fleet driver data and the consumer driver survey findings can not be viewed as an apples-to-apples comparison, the survey results point to a significant distracted driving challenge in society at large, and the fleet data indicates some possible technological solutions.
According to the data, some 6% of fleet driver accidents recorded on vehicles with Netradyne's cameras were caused by driver distraction.
In addition, the data shows that professional drivers using Netradyne technology are six times more likely to look at or text on their smartphone rather than raise their smartphone to their ears for a call.
Moreover, real-time alerts and reminders appear to work to curb distracted driving among fleets. Following an in-cab notification, 42% of drivers will stop looking at their cell phones.
Another noteworthy finding based on fleets that utilize the Netradyne technology concerns which fleet types are more prone to distracted driving. The data indicate that fleets in the government industry are five times less distracted than fleets in the retail industry.
Overall, Netradyne says its fleet safety technology reduces driver distraction by 90% in fewer than 12 weeks, thereby making roads safer for everyone. With technology, distracted driving is no longer something safety managers and fleet drivers are powerless to address. Netradyne believes all drivers on the road — consumers as well as professionals — stand to benefit from the continued adoption of technology specifically designed to curb distraction.