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Study Says Most Drive Unsafe when Phones Are Along for the Ride

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Many people use their phones to text, talk, or surf while they drive—whether or not they choose to admit it. When averting one’s eyes for just seconds could result in a life-changing accident, U.S. drivers are reported to spend a staggering average of 3.5 minutes on their phones during any given one-hour trip—according to the largest distracted driving study conducted to date.

 

Reviewing data from 3.1 million drivers who took 570 million trips and drove 5.6 billion miles between December 2016 and February 2017, the Zendrive study found that the drivers used their phones during 88 out of 100 trips in their vehicles. According to researchers, even a two-second distraction is long enough to increase the likelihood of crashing by more than 20 times.

 

Drivers in Vermont Most Phone-Distracted, Texas Ranks No. 17

According to the survey, Texas is the 17th worst state for phone-distracted drivers. Currently Texas is one of only four states without a texting while driving ban in place, but as I discussed in a recent blog, lawmakers in the state are currently considering legislation that would ban the practice. If signed by Governor Greg Abbott, the measure would make using a phone while driving a misdemeanor offense in Texas. As of right now, Texas only prohibits phone use for those driving in school zones, drivers under the age of 18 and bus drivers carrying minors.

 

In the Zendrive study, Vermont drivers had the dubious distinction of being the most distracted of those surveyed, spending an average of 4.4 minutes per hour on their phones, followed by motorists in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. Oregon had the least distracted drivers, with drivers there spending only 2.2 minutes per hour on their phones. Los Angeles topped the list of cities with the most phone-distracted drivers, despite the fact that California has a law prohibiting phone use and, as a state, ranks among the least distracted. Other cities ranking high for phone-distracted drivers included Miami, Philadelphia, and Chicago in addition to Texas cities, Austin and Houston.

 

Whether considering the state of Texas or the entire Nation, it’s apparent that enacting laws that prohibit the act of distracted driving and/or driver phone-use is only the first step. We must consider our behavior, how mobile phones have had an effect, and what we can do to make a positive and permanent change moving forward.