A recent survey of passenger car and commercial drivers finds that distracted driving is still a significant safety issue, according to a report from Nationwide.

The latest driving behaviors survey revealed additional risky behaviors impacting all drivers on the road.

One-third (34 percent) of commercial drivers admitted they sometimes or often feel distracted behind the wheel, and this is supported by the 6 in 10 who agree that other commercial drivers are looking at their phones more often and driving faster than they did a year ago.

The survey found the top causes of distractions for commercial drivers are:

  • 55 percent using GPS/Nav systems.
  • 36 percent responding to work text messages.
  • 27 percent texting/talking on mobile phones.
  • 13 percent checking social media apps.

Commercial drivers may be feeling pressured by their employers to make tight timelines, according to Nationwide, causing potential distractions while behind the wheel.

Almost all drivers (90 percent) say it is dangerous to hold a phone in their hand while driving, whether to talk, text or navigate.

But drivers tend to blame others, the survey found, with 8 in 10 (80 percent) rating their own driving as “very good” or “excellent” compared to other passenger cars on the road (14 percent) or commercial vehicles (25 percent).

Most everyone surveyed agreed that driving has become more dangerous, reporting other drivers are more often looking at their phones (92 percent).

“Nationwide’s telematics driving data shows that drivers take their eyes off the road at least 12 times per day. The average distraction for a driver traveling at 45MPH would cover the length of three football fields! States with hands-free laws are helping to minimize distraction, but we need all 50 states to adopt hands-free laws to continue to reduce crashes and save lives,” said Kelly Hernandez, AVP of Nationwide’s personal telematics.

Many states are exploring hands-free legislation as a way to curb distracted driving.

The majority of those surveyed (89 percent) support laws or legislation in their state to prohibit drivers from holding their cellphones while talking or manually using their cellphones to text, email or look at anything on their phones while operating a motor vehicle.

Twenty-six states and Washington, D.C. have hands-free laws in place, while 16 states have no laws prohibiting handheld cellphone use while behind the wheel, Nationwide found. Eight states need to strengthen their laws to primary, all driver hands-free laws, the insurer added.

As an example of the benefits of hands-free legislation, Ohio passed its legislation in 2022 and saw a 16 percent reduction in distracted driving-related accidents in the first nine months of 2023. Over the same time period, distracted driving fatalities also declined by nearly 25 percent.