Report on distracted driving suggest nearly nine out of 10 people use a phone during a trip

In what it says is the largest analysis of distracted driving ever conducted, the driving analytics company Zendrive determined that nearly nine out of 10 drivers use a cell phone during a drive.

The company used data from 3 million anonymous drivers, who traveled 5.6 billion miles between December 2016 and February 2017. The analysis determined that drivers used their phone on 88 out of 100 trips.

Zendrive uses smartphone sensors to measure driver behavior, including aggressive driving and distraction. The company's smartphone app is designed to help fleet managers improve the safety and performance of their company's drivers. The study was mostly based on information from personal vehicles, although some commercial drivers were also included. It did not include data from heavy vehicles.

The company says the finding that 88 percent of drivers use a phone during a drive translates to 5.6 million trips in the study sample alone where a driver was having a phone conversation, sending a text message, or receiving a text. It says this finding can be further extrapolated to a figure of 600 million trips per day in the United States where a driver is distracted by their phone.

The average conversation lasted for three-and-a-half minutes. Zendrive says this is particularly concerning since a distraction of just two seconds is enough for a vehicle to travel the length of two basketball courts when moving at 55 miles per hour.

Vermont was rated as the most distracted state, with the average driver spending 7.42 percent of their driving time on the phone. Mississippi drivers were distracted by their phones for an average of 6.85 percent, and Louisiana drivers by 6.38 percent.

Oregon drivers were the least distracted, with an average of 3.69 percent of their driving time spent on the phone. Washington State came in at 3.96 percent, and Idaho at 4.01 percent.

In Connecticut, the average driver was talking or texting for 5.34 percent of their trip; the state was ranked as the 15th most distracted one in the nation. Rhode Island drivers were distracted by their phones for 5.58 percent of a typical trip, and the state was named as the eighth most distracted overall.

The Zendrive study recorded phone use when a driver handled their phone for a certain period of time. The company did not differentiate between different types of phone use, but rather considered calls, texts, and app use to all be forms of distracted driving.

The results come on the heels of a AAA study that identified distracted driving as the top concern among drivers. While 87.5 percent said they thought distracted driving had become a bigger problem  in recent years, 49.1 percent admitted to using a handheld cell phone while driving in the past month. Another 44.9 percent said they had sent a text or e-mail while behind the wheel in the past month, while 34.6 percent said they had sent a text or e-mail.


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