With auto insurers increasingly worried about a spike in accidents related to distracted driving, results from a new study will only reinforce their fears.

A little more than 52 percent of trips that ended up in a crash included a distracted driving component. For drives that ended up in a crash, the average length of the distraction was more than 2 minutes – 135 seconds, according to a new study from Cambridge Mobile Telematics.

CMT said it based its conclusion on data from a study of “several hundreds of thousands of drivers.” Founded in 2010 by two MIT professors and other entrepreneurs, the company offers smartphone-based telematics and behavior analytics through its DriveWell product.

Other findings in its study:

  • Phone distraction went on for 2 minutes or more on 20 percent of drives that involved a distraction component, often at high speeds, with 29 percent of autos in this situation often driving more than 56 miles per hour.
  • The worst 10 percent of distracted drivers are 2.3 times more likely to be in a crash than the average driver and 5.8 times more likely than the best 10 percent of distracted drivers.

The CMT study comes as more groups are releasing data about distracted driving behavior, and insurance groups are taking steps to counter it.

A study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham published online recently in Accident Analysis and Prevention identified personality traits linked to distracted driving behavior. Among its findings: older, extroverted adults and curious teens may be more likely to engage in risky driving behavior. Agreeable teens tend to be less risky drivers.

In March, the Arbella Insurance Foundation relaunched its anti-distracted driving program, Distractology, with updated training scenarios and a new five-year plan. The program involves a mobile classroom with high-tech driving simulators that travels to high schools across New England, designed to teach students about distracted driving risks and how to avoid accidents. Smartphones, streaming music and food are included in the classes.

Source: Cambridge Mobile Telematics