Distracted driving has overtaken drunk driving as consumers’ top safety concern on the road, according to a Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT) survey.
The survey of more than 700 drivers revealed that 63 percent of respondents are more afraid of distracted drivers on the road than they are of intoxicated drivers (37 percent).
Furthermore, despite concern over the rise in distracted driving, the survey findings show that current laws are not motivating consumers to curb this risky behavior and address the crisis.
CMT’s research found that 75 percent of drivers see other drivers using their phones while driving every single day, with 45 percent seeing phone distractions on the road multiple times per day.
“These numbers illustrate the severity of the distracted driving epidemic, and highlight the urgent need for a new approach that combats distracted driving through technology and consumer incentives to motivate behavior modification,” said Sam Madden, co-founder and chief scientist at Cambridge Mobile Telematics.
When asked about reducing phone use while driving, respondents said laws against cellphone use provided the least incentive (39 percent). Drivers are more likely to be motivated by receiving discounts from insurance providers (79 percent) or being given rewards such as gift cards or promotions (59 percent).
“Smartphone telematics technologies enable the monitoring and reporting of risky driving behavior, including the use of a phone while driving,” said Madden. “As a result, while smartphones may be part of the distracted driving problem, they are also part of the solution.”
Other key survey findings include:
- If driving habits and performance were shared with family and friends, 60 percent of drivers would be motivated to improve safe driving habits.
- Phone calls (32 percent), text messages (30 percent) and navigation (27 percent) were among the top distractors of drivers surveyed, surpassed only by other passengers (44 percent).
While many auto insurers and drivers are leveraging smartphone-based telematics programs to provide drive-by-drive feedback, reduce distraction and improve road safety, nationwide adoption is in its early stages. Analysis of users of CMT’s telematics program, DriveWell, found that drivers showed an average of 35 percent reduction in phone distraction within 30 days of enrollment, according to the company.