Phone Addicts are the New Drunk Drivers

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「Every April, to commemorate Distracted Driving Awareness Month, Zendrive shares insights from the largest dataset about how people drive. For our third annual Distracted Driving Study, we analyzed over 160 billion miles of driver data to uncover a dangerous new category of distracted drivers: Phone Addicts. This growing category of hyper-connected individuals exhibit a pattern of distracted behavior unlike any other group of risky drivers on the road and you may be one of them.

Last year, 6,227 pedestrians lost their lives to the hands of drivers who were most likely driving under the influence of a smartphone. On a national level, drivers are 10 percent more distracted this year than last. And from out under the shadows, Phone Addicts have positioned themselves as public enemy number one, replacing drunk drivers as the ultimate threat on public roads.」

Assuming that this study is accurate - Lol it is pretty sad that we have become to addicted to technology and small screens that distracted driving via phone is more dangerous than drunk driving itself.

「Phone Addicts Don’t Notice or Care That They’re Driving Distracted

Phone Addicts are glued to their phones, so they’re more distracted, more dangerous, and more likely to cause a crash. When comparing this year’s data to the 2018 report, we found that the number of ‘Phone Addicts’ doubled in the last year. Overall, ‘Phone Addicts:’

Spend 3x more drive time actively using their phones

Actively ignore the road 28% of the time they’re driving

Are on the road 1.5x more times than the general population

Are more of a public danger than drunk drivers

To better understand what drives this behavior, we launched our first-ever Distracted Driving Survey, talking directly to drivers. The survey found that people know distracted driving is a problem, but aren’t concerned enough to change their behavior:

85% of respondents acknowledged distracted driving is a problem

90% claimed to be safe drivers, but…

47% admitted to using phones 10% or more of the time while driving, classifying them as ‘Phone Addicts.’」

Even if the study may not be accurate - A lot of these points are just common sense. There are plenty of people that don't drink or are cautious of drinking and driving which makes it not as much of an issue. Distracted driving via phone can be almost 100% preventable - while the same as drunk driving - smartphones are highly addicting which makes it much harder for people to drive without using them at all. We have conditioned ourselves to check our phones everytime we get notifications from people or apps or to just randomly do 'something'. Now we are constantly enslaved by our own smartphones - theres always something to check or be distracted by. Quite sad what we have done to ourselves.

「Is Driver Phone Use Really Worse than Drunk Driving?

Our blatant overconfidence paired by a relentless addiction to stay connected is clear. But how does this stack up against drunk driving? Could driver phone use really be worse?

In a 2006 study conducted by the University of Utah, cell phone drivers were found to be just as bad as drunks. However, when controlling for driving conditions and time on task, smartphone drivers exhibited greater impairment than intoxicated drivers. The study revealed that the driving abilities of cell phone users are akin to drivers with the legal blood-alcohol limit of 0.08 percent.

The researchers specifically found that cell phone users are:

Are more likely to crash

Drive more slowly

9 percent slower to deploy the brakes

24 percent more variance in their following distance

19 percent slower to return to normal speed after braking

We know distracted drivers' behavior is at least as dangerous as drunk drivers. But Phone Addicts outnumber drunk drivers, too. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the highest number of drunk drivers are on the road between midnight and 3 am, with fatal crashes four times higher at night than during the day. Our data shows Phone Addicts are on the road at every hour of the day, with peak hours during times most folks are on the road, between 7 am and 6 pm. Which means that both in number and in timing, distracted drivers are a bigger danger than drunk drivers.」

Distracted driving via phone doesn't have to be worse than drunk driving but it increasingly is. Drunk drivers being on the road at night while phone addicts are driving almost every single hour makes sense. Of course you can't really drink while working during the day and most people don't really do so anyway so they wait until around nighttime. There will always be people driving at any time of the day and the chances of being distracted by your smartphone is significantly higher than driving drunk.

「If one thing is certain, our driving patterns in 2018 cannot be carried into the future. 2019 will be a decisive year in the fight against driver phone use. If not curbed, this massive epidemic will lead to a significant rise in traffic fatalities and seismic challenges in the coming decade. While the hope of zero traffic fatalities remains alive, a serious threshold has been crossed in terms of the number of distracted drivers we should tolerate on public roads.」

Just as drunk driving is illegal for obvious reasons, smartphone use while driving should also be illegal or significantly discouraged especially if it has been proven to be worse than drunk driving. Make a law imposing significant fines might make drivers think again about what they're doing.