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Everyone knows we are all using our phones while driving. A lot.

And now there is hard data to back it up. Zendrive studied actual device use among 3.1 million drivers over 5.6 billion miles of driving and found that in 88 percent of trips, drivers made at least some use of their phones. On average, drivers spent 3.5 minutes per hour on their device.

Expand chart

Data: Zendrive; Map: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Some important context: The number of traffic deaths has been increasing since 2015 after a 40-year decline, with more than 40,000 people dying on the roads last year for the first time in a decade. It is estimated that a 2-second distraction increases the risk of a collision by 20 times.

Other findings:

  • Six of the 10 states where people spent the least time on their device had laws imposing some restrictions on phone use while driving.
  • However, Vermont, which had the highest rate of device usage, also has a law against doing so. Drivers there spent nearly 7.5 percent of their time on their phones.
  • Oregon has the lowest rate of driver phone use, though drivers were still on their phones more than 3 percent of the time.

"The results certainly make me feel less safe on the road," Zendrive CEO Jonathan Matus told Axios. "We all know this first hand- we see folks on the road on their phones all the time and many of us would admit that we too are doing it several times every trip. ... But until today it hasn't been clear just how big and how common the problem is."

Go deeper

By the numbers: Catholics, Biden and abortion

Expand chart
Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals

President Biden — the second Catholic U.S. president — will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Friday, as some church leaders debate whether to deny Holy Communion to politicians who support abortion rights.

By the numbers: Overall, two in three U.S. Catholics believe Biden should be allowed to take Communion despite his stance on abortion, according to polling by Pew Research Center.

Texas House probes school library books dealing with race and sexuality

Photo: Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images

Texas state Rep. Matt Krause (R), chair of the Texas House Committee on General Investigating, announced Wednesday that he's initiating a probe into schools' library books, according to a letter sent to the state's education agency and other superintendents.

Why it matters: The probe focuses on books that discuss race, sexuality, or "make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex," Krause wrote in the letter.

5 hours ago - World

Iran agrees to resume Vienna nuclear talks in November

Ali Bagheri (R) with Enrique Mora in Tehran on Oct. 14. Photo: Iranian Foreign Ministry handout via Getty

Iran's new chief nuclear negotiator said following a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday that Iran would resume negotiations in Vienna before the end of November, with the exact date to be set next week.

Why it matters: The Vienna talks have been frozen since Iran's new hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, was elected in June. This is the most direct commitment from Raisi's government to return to the negotiating table.