Most Californians know that cellphone use while driving is not only dangerous but also illegal. Despite these facts, a staggering number of drivers continue to drive while distracted.

Distracted driving includes any activity that takes your eyes off the road, such as playing with the radio, eating or drinking. However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), smartphone use while driving is the most troublesome distraction.

Stealing a glance at your phone may seem harmless, but a 5-second text at 55 mph is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed. More alarmingly, one study found that distracted driving was 100 times worse in 2018 than was officially reported for that year.

What were the findings?

Zendrive, a company that uses smartphone sensors to measure driving behavior, found that there’s significantly more cellphone use by American drivers than what government officials estimated.

According to the NHTSA, 660,000 drivers used their phones during daylight hours in 2018. But in Zendrive’s data set, they found an estimated 69 million drivers use their phone each day. The data also revealed that:

  • Distracted driving increased in every state but Vermont.
  • Driver phone use increased in every city studied.
  • The average duration of phone use while driving increased.

At any given time of day, an average of 40% of drivers uses their phone at least once. That average rises to 72% of drivers between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on the road.

How to avoid driving distracted

While these statistics are disturbing, there are steps you can take to reduce your distractions on the road to safeguard yourself and other drivers.

  • Stay hands-free: Put your phone on a dashboard mount or in a cup holder so you can focus on the road.
  • Set up your music and GPS before you leave: Get your technology in order while your car is still parked.
  • Use Do Not Disturb mode: Some smartphones have settings that will block notifications for texts and calls while you are driving or while in Do Not Disturb mode. If you don’t have this setting, there are apps you can download that do the same thing.

Distracted driving puts us all at risk. If you are injured in an accident, please call 877-PAYAMLA for a free consultation.