Stories

Study confirms we all use our phones while driving

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.

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."