Friday, 04 December 2020 13:32

Distracted Driving Skyrocketing During the Pandemic

Written by Kea Wilson, StreetsBlog USA
Distracted Driving Skyrocketing During the Pandemic Vivian Nguyen/Flickr


...being distracted, it’s going to be harder and harder to fix it.”


Indeed, Zendrive’s own data may suggest that cities that took quick action to calm roads during the pandemic saw their efforts pay off behind the wheel.


Of the top five cities with the highest rates of cell phone use, only Austin, TX, had a significant Slow Streets program, while Chicago, San Antonio and Dallas hosted extremely modest street closure events in a handful of neighborhoods.


Boston, Detroit and Seattle, by contrast, all won plaudits for their car-limiting initiatives, and landed on the list of the top five cities whose drivers reached for their phones the least.


But even larger-scale temporary street closures can only do so much---and experts say we need foundational change, both for now and for the future beyond the coronavirus.


“There’s still a pandemic, and there will continue to be one or at least another for six months before everyone is vaccinated,” said Schultheiss. “But [in the road safety world,] what we’re still seeing is a ton of conversation about automated vehicles, which is a much longer-range solution.


"There needs to be a seriousness about developing that technology, but we also have to be realistic about when it will be ready. If people, right now, are distracted 57% of the time they crash their cars, that’s not going to get any lower anytime soon. We just need systemic change to our roadways.”


We thank StreetsBlog USA for reprint permission.


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