Distracted Driving Survey Reveals Disturbing Facts
It’s troubling how many drivers admit to distracted driving habits yet believe that behaviour is safe… except when other people are doing them.
Recently, an insurance comparison website conducted a survey where 74%, of those answering admitted they do things while driving that takes their focus off the road… yet somehow, they don’t believe that makes them a danger to themselves or anyone else.
At the same time, 80% of those surveyed said they feel uncomfortable if they see another driver texting or making calls.
The survey of just over 1,000 drivers showed 47% believe distracted driving is the leading cause of traffic deaths compared to the 34% who believe impaired driving causes the most deaths on the road.
It’s a perplexing situation with contradictory opinions… or more accurately, that a lot of drivers buy into the misguided belief that they are better drivers than most people on the road, and can text or make a call safely from behind the wheel while most other drivers cannot.
Eating or drinking (79%) and making phone calls on a hands-free device (65%) topped the list of distracting behaviours drivers engage in. However, 80% of respondents who engage in these practices think they are safe.
Reaching for an object (56%), using navigational apps on an unmounted device (40%), and making a phone call on a handheld device (25%) rounded up the top five distracted driving habits, which were deemed safe by 57%, 68%, and 49% of respondents, respectively.
The survey also revealed that only four in 10 respondents would ask a distracted driver to stop. But experts encourage passengers to get more comfortable with the idea of holding distracted drivers to account, pointing out the fact that 76% of respondents said they would not object if their passenger asked them not to engage in distracted driving habits.
While distracted driving can lead to injury and death, even if nobody gets hurt it can still lead to serious financial consequences in terms of fines and paying more for car insurance.
Many drivers “just don’t get it”
Added to the above, a new study by CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) found that while an overwhelming majority of drivers on Ontario claim to be aware of how serious the distracted driving problem is, most still don’t believe their own behaviour is part of the problem to the problem.
Reaching just over 1,500 Ontario drivers, 91% said they believe distracted driving is getting worse, with 32% of the survey’s participants labelling themselves as distracted drivers. But when distracted driving was defined using specific examples, that number jumped to 43%.
While 45% of these drivers surveyed said that they often see others holding a cell phone while driving, a mere 3% admitted to using their own phones behind the wheel.
Apparently, there continues to be a general lack of understanding by many drivers who don’t realize that distracted driving is more than just holding your phone. It’s literally anything that takes your attention off the road – a phone, food or even adjusting the radio.
The survey revealed that the drivers most likely to commit distracted driving violations are highway drivers (58%), those who commute 90 minutes or more (54%), and drivers aged 25-34 (59%).