Distracted Driving Peaks During Pandemic, Alarming Surge in Pedestrian Fatalities

Understanding and addressing distracted driving in recent years has been difficult due to a lack of data. Official estimates suggest 3,522 deaths occurred in 2021, but experts contend this number does not fully capture the extent of the issue. However, there have been significant advancements in data collection, especially by Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT), that have revealed a troubling trend: Distracted driving in the US has increased significantly during the pandemic.

CMT, collaborating with major insurance companies, analyzed driver behavior through mobile apps, revealing a 20 percent increase in both phone motion and screen interaction while driving from 2020 to 2022. 

The report indicates that, by various metrics, distracted driving has become more prevalent, with drivers engaging with their phones on nearly 58% of trips in 2022. Notably, this behavior persists even at speeds exceeding 50 mph.

Comparisons with European countries highlight a significant disparity. US drivers spend almost three times more time distracted by phones than their European counterparts, with an average of 2 minutes 11 seconds per hour compared to 44 seconds for UK drivers. The US, already an outlier in traffic fatalities, faces rates 50 percent higher than peer countries.

Read Next: Bank of America Faces Lawsuit Over Lost Certificate of Deposit

Pandemic-Induced Surge in Distracted Driving

Understanding and addressing distracted driving in recent years has been difficult due to a lack of data.

The surge in distracted driving began with the pandemic, coinciding with increased phone usage while driving. CMT’s analysis reveals that the most distracted drivers are over 240 percent more likely to crash than the safest drivers. The consequences extend beyond collisions, correlating with a rise in pedestrian fatalities.

Cultural, structural, and psychological factors contribute to this issue. The shift to remote work and the pervasive expectation of constant availability may exacerbate distracted driving. Additionally, the US’s car-centric infrastructure, longer commuting times, and straight, boredom-inducing roads play a role.

Experts suggest a multi-faceted approach to address the problem, including technological interventions and policy changes. While “hands-free” laws have shown initial success, sustained efforts, public awareness, and effective enforcement are crucial. Financial incentives, such as telematics-based insurance apps, can influence driver behavior positively.

The challenge lies in orchestrating a comprehensive solution to combat distracted driving, emphasizing the urgent need to reduce preventable deaths on US roads.

Read Next: The Top 10 Most Violent Prisons in New York

About the author

Author description olor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed pulvinar ligula augue, quis bibendum tellus scelerisque venenatis. Pellentesque porta nisi mi. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Etiam risus elit, molestie 

Leave a Comment