Distracted driving continues to be a pressing concern on our roads, putting countless lives at risk. In a 2023 Travelers Risk Index survey on distracted driving, 70% of respondents said that distracted driving is a bigger problem now than it was a few years ago. Around “34% of drivers say they’ve had a near-miss crash because of their distracted driving.”
As technology advances, so does the allure of smartphones, leading to an alarming increase in distracted driving incidents. With a mission to make roads safer using data and analytics, Zendrive takes road safety seriously. We have previously released Collision Reports to help all drivers, insurers, businesses, and road safety organizations gain crucial insights to combat the distracted driving epidemic.
In our latest analysis, we compared recent driving data from January to May 2023 with the same period in 2022* and discovered some shocking trends that demand immediate attention. Here are the biggest takeaways.
1. The surge in collisions
The data collected from our analysis shows that in the combined months of January to May 2023, the average collisions per million miles increased by a staggering 14.81% compared to the same period in 2022. This concerning rise highlights the urgent need for awareness and action to combat distracted driving.
2. Phone usage as a leading cause of collisions
Phones have become an indispensable part of our lives, but their misuse on the road is proving to be a significant contributor to accidents. In the period from January to May 2022, approximately 19.2% of collision trips were linked to phone usage within 15 seconds before the collision. However, in the same period in 2023, this number jumped to about 28.4%, representing over a 9 percentage point increase. This rise signifies the growing danger of phone usage on U.S. roads and emphasizes the need for greater awareness campaigns.
3. Phone use vs. speeding: Predictors of risky behavior
When we think of reckless driving behavior, the first thing that comes to mind is speeding. However, our data analysis shows that phone use can be more predictive of collision risk.
Almost half of the drivers (45.8%) involved in collisions used their phones at least once during their trip. Similarly, over 40% of collision trips per month had rapid acceleration events, while all events - speeding, rapid acceleration, and phone use - are trending upwards month over month. These worsening behaviors are ultimately leading to more collisions, which further underscores the severity of the distracted driving epidemic. The nationwide issue continues to worsen.
4. Frequency of phone use and collisions
We examined the number of phone use occurrences per trip for both collision and non-collision trips. The data revealed that, on average, drivers engaged in phone use ~6 times during a collision trip. Again, this number reinforces the notion that phone usage can be more predictive of collision risk than other factors like speeding.
Preventing distracted driving in 2023 and beyond
As distracted driving continues to worsen, it is imperative for individuals, communities, and policymakers to take decisive action. Government bodies and law enforcement agencies need to intensify efforts to raise awareness about the risks of distracted driving, with a specific focus on the dangers of phone usage while driving. Education and advocacy campaigns should continue to highlight the importance of safe driving practices, encouraging drivers to put their phones away while on the road.
Additionally, tech companies and insurers can play a vital role in curbing distracted driving by implementing features that discourage phone usage while driving. Major US consumer apps, for example, can offer new programs to their millions of users that provide driving behavior-based auto insurance savings as incentives for their safe driving. Within these programs, apps can provide real-time driving insights that help users navigate the roads more safely.
In our ongoing commitment to road safety, Zendrive remains steadfast in our mission to make our roads safer for everyone. The insights gained in this analysis have sharpened our focus on combating distracted driving.
As we move forward, we are more determined than ever to share valuable data on driving behavior, particularly concerning the growing dangers of phone usage on the road. By continuing to provide accurate and up-to-date information, we aim to raise awareness and empower individuals, communities, and policymakers to take informed actions.
*This Zendrive collision analysis examined driving data collected from January - May 2022 and January - May 2023. Our analysis consisted of 1,073,040 active users, 338,809,625 trips, and 3,046,254,257 miles driven.
To learn more about this analysis or Zendrive and its mission to make roads safer, contact us directly below.