Carriers may be concerned about drivers using their cellphones or succumbing to other distractions while behind the wheel, but the behavior remains entrenched in daily life. Sometimes, it is even brazen.
Many drivers talk on their cellphones or text while driving. But noteworthy numbers also style their hair, shave, put on makeup, play with their pets and change clothes even though they’re behind the wheel on a road or highway, according to a new survey from Root Insurance and Wakefield Research.
“The number of distractions are increasing, and so is the need for companies and drivers to find new ways to encourage focused driving,” Joe Plattenburg, Root Insurance’s director of data science for telematics, said in prepared remarks.
Root Insurance uses smartphone technology and data science to help its auto insurance customers get better rates based on their driving behavior.
What the survey found: Nearly half of drivers said that distracted driving on the road remains a top concern while behind the wheel.
A lot of that came from excessive use of cellphones/personal devices. Drivers admitted to spending an average of 13 minutes a day interacting with their devices while driving. What’s more, 38 percent of drivers who check their mobile devices while behind the wheel said they don’t even put their phones down when they see police or other law enforcement, the survey found.
Approximately 99 percent of drivers said that cellphones were among the top three distractions while driving. Of that number, 52 percent said they could be diverted from looking at the road by group texts or email chains with multiple people. About 33 percent said social media was a major cause of distraction while they drove, and 18 percent said they had been diverted by streaming video, such as a show or movie trailer.
Root/Wakefield noted in the survey results that drivers were intolerant of distracted driving by others even though they engaged in it themselves.
Nearly 90 percent of drivers, for example, said they would give an Uber/Lyft driver a bad rating for texting while driving, even as close to 40 percent admit they’ve done that themselves. Meanwhile, 90 percent of drivers believe they are better behind the wheel than Uber/Lyft drivers.
- Nearly 30 percent of responding drivers said they have steered their vehicle with a knee or chin rather than their hands.
- 18 percent said they had pursued grooming while driving (doing their hair or makeup).
- 13 percent said they played with a pet while driving.
- 12 percent said they have changed clothes while behind the wheel.
“Root’s mission is to help drivers make better decisions on the road, and the industry standard fear tactics are clearly not working,” Root Co-Founder and CEO Alex Timm said in prepared remarks.
Wakefield Research compiled the survey results based on responses from 1,819 U.S. adult drivers from March 20-26, 2019.
Source: Root Insurance