Distracted Driving During Back-to-School Has Grown 15% Since 2020

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Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT) on Aug. 10 announced an analysis that shows that phone screen interaction during the back-to-school period has increased from 2020 to 2022. 

In 2020, drivers spent 1 minute and 52 seconds on their phones per driving hour from Aug. 1 through Labor Day. By 2022, this distraction rose to 2 minutes and 9 seconds, a 15% increase.

CMT’s data shows every 10% rise in distracted driving increases the crash rate by 1.4%. CMT estimates the 15% increase in distracted driving during the back-to-school season was responsible for an additional 31,000 crashes, 80 fatalities and more than $740 million in economic damages in 2022. It’s something auto insurers are taking note of.

“Distracted driving is and continues to be a concern for everyone on the roads, especially during the busy back-to-school season,” said Grady Irey, UBI and product innovation vice president at American Family Insurance. “As one of the country’s leading auto insurers, we’re continuing to explore ways to incentivize customers through our DriveMyWay program or other usage-based car insurance programs to end distracted driving.”

Distracted driving has been higher during the back-to-school period in two out of the past three years. Compared to the rest of the year, distracted driving was 5.7% higher in 2020 and 5% higher in 2021 during back-to-school. In 2022, there was an encouraging 3.7% decrease in distracted driving during back to school.

“With these data-driven analyses, we’re working to educate people on the dangers of distracted driving and sounding the alert on disturbing distraction trends that would otherwise be invisible to drivers,” said Matt Fiorentino, VP of marketing for Cambridge Mobile Telematics. “For everyone with kids going back to school or who lives or drives near a school, this 15% increase in distraction should be a wake-up call. Any moment of distracted driving can have irreversible and devastating outcomes.”

According to the CDC, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among American teenagers. In 2020, about 2,800 teenagers were killed in car crashes in the U.S., nearly eight every day. Hundreds more are injured. Nearly half of all fatal car crashes involving teenagers happen during the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer” period from Memorial Day to Labor Day. CMT’s survey data shows young people are 40% more likely to drive distracted every day.

CMT defines screen interaction as any tapping behavior on the phone’s screen while the vehicle is in motion. This can include everything from writing an email or a text to using an app, entering a phone number, playing a game and more. The most distracted drivers are 240% more likely to crash.

Source: CMT

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