A new study from has provided the most extensive look at the distracted driving epidemic yet, revealing some worrying statistics about phone use behind the wheel.
Using data from the phones of 3.1 million anonymous drivers over a period of three months, the study, commissioned by US company Zendrive, discovered an estimated 69 million US drivers use their phone while behind the wheel each day – a drastic increase compared to the 660,000 estimated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
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Zendrive’s investigation analysed 570 million trips, covering 9 billion kilometres by using technology which accessed a phone’s sensors and GPS.
The technology recorded driver behaviour, including speeding, aggressive driving, hard braking, collisions, and phone use. The raw data was analysed by machine learning algorithms to generate data for the study.
On average, US drivers used their phones in 88 out of 100 trips, with 60 percent of drivers using their phones at least once per day while behind the wheel. Of any given hour, an average of 40 percent of drivers use their phone at least once.
Phone use among drivers peaked during daytime hours, 72 percent of drivers using their device at least once during any given hour between 10am and 5pm.
The study found that Americans that used their phone at least once a day when driving did so for an average of 3.5 minutes for every hour behind the wheel.
While that may not seem like much, at 60km/h that is 3.5 kilometres travelled without looking at the road. At 100km/h it is six kilometres with your eyes away from the road. Another US study in 2015 by researchers from Oregon State University found taking your eyes off the road for only two seconds increases your chances of a collision by 24 times.
“In other words, that’s equivalent to 105 opportunities an hour that you could nearly kill yourself and/or others,” Noah Budnick, Director of Public Policy & Government Affairs for Zendrive, said.
The study found that of those that use phones during a trip, the vast majority do so during the first five percent of a journey.
This is your friendly reminder. Do not use your phone while driving.