Drivers most likely to send text messages during evening commute

Rush hour is rarely an enjoyable time for drivers to be on the road, and drivers are likely to cope with the congestion with anything from music to conversation with a passenger. A recent study from the Smartphone app Drivemode suggests that drivers who send or receive text messages while driving are most likely to do so during the evening commute.

Drivemode is designed to allow drivers to safely compose and send messages using a hands-free simplified interface and a talk-to-text function. The study analyzed data from 177,000 who had downloaded the feature for an Android device, encompassing 6.5 million messages that were sent or received during the entire 2017 calendar year.

The study determined that the afternoon rush hours were the most popular times f or drivers to use the app. In particular, messaging was most likely to take place between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. In this period, drivers in the United States sent or received an average of 6.87 messages.

The hour from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. was also a popular time for texting, with an average of 6.59 messages sent or received. Between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., drivers sent or received an average of 6.29 messages. The period between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. collectively accounted for 22.7 percent of text messages sent or received using the app during a typical day.

"Drivers disproportionately use their afternoon commutes to connect with co-workers, friends, or family via messaging, whether it's to wrap up work or to share status with family and friends," said Yo Koga, co-founder and CEO of Drivemode. "The drivers in our study are messaging safely – hand-free and voice activated. But the data signals a trend that almost certainly extends to the population at large. That gives us an indication of the times of day we need to be especially mindful of ensuring everyone's safety on the road."

The typical morning rush hour included an average of 6.13 messages sent and received between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. and 5.99 messages sent and received between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. This period accounted for 10.57 percent of all messaging.

Between noon and 2 p.m., drivers sent or received an average of between 5.63 and 5.91 messages per hour. Just over 20 percent of the average day's messaging occurred during the traditional lunch break hours.

"The difference in messaging behavior between morning and afternoon commutes reveals priorities of drivers during that time," said Koga. "Morning drivetime may be an opportunity to listen to music or news rather than to connect with family or co-workers, for example. But after work, a driver may need to communicate traffic delays to family, provide updates on errands or stops before coming home, connect with friends, or follow up on lingering work issues."

A small share of texts—5.58 percent—were sent or received from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. The average driver sent or received 5.54 texts during this period.

Ten states had messaging rates that were higher than the national average. New Yorkers were most likely to be using the texting app during the 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. period, sending an average of eight messages during the hour. Hawaii drivers sent or received an average of 7.9 messages during the 4 p.m. hour, while Florida drivers had an average messaging rate of 7.87 during the 5 p.m. hour.

In Connecticut, the 4 p.m. hour was the most popular time for messaging and drivers sent or received 5.96 messages on average. Drivers in Rhode Island were most likely to send or receive texts during the 5 p.m. hour, with a messaging rate of 4.48.

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