92% of Drivers Use Phones & Get C Grades in Safe Driving in America

Just in time for Distracted Driving Awareness Month, we have a new report from EverQuote finding that the majority of drivers in the United States (92%) uses their phone while behind the wheel.

The 2017 Safe Driving Report, which analyzed EverDrive driving data from more than 2.7 million vehicle trips and 230 million miles driven, reveals that a deadly combination of speeding and cell phone use while driving is a common and dangerous driving habit across the United States. The report, which ranks each habit from a low of one to a high of 100, indicated that drivers nationally received an average safe driving rate of 79, classifying them as “C” students if these grades were test scores. The EverDrive app uses technology built into phones to measure and rank driving behavior including speed, use of the phone while driving, hard braking, hard turns and risky acceleration.

According to the report data, drivers scored the lowest in the speeding while driving category, with a national safety rating average of 79. More than one third (36%) of all trips taken involved speeding 10 miles per hour over the speed limit. Using the phone while driving received a score of 80, with 38% of drives containing at least one phone use event.  While drivers used their phones during a higher percentage of trips versus speeding, speeding typically lasts for a longer amount of time per each drive.

Drivers in the South can’t put down their phones. Unfortunately, Southerners have the highest phone use rate while driving with 41 percent of all trips taken involving use of a phone. The rest of the country uses their phone slightly more than a third of the time while driving. Midwesterners use their phone on 37 percent of drives; those in the Northeast picked up their device on 35 percent of drives, while those in the West average a phone use rate of 34 percent when driving.

  • Male drivers used their phone 39% of all trips taken compared to 43% of female drivers.
  • Drivers under 21, used their phone during 45% of all trips taken, compared to drivers over the age of 21 who used their phone 39%.
  • A recent study by Cambridge Mobile Telematics, which included data from EverDrive trips, found more than 50% of crashes occurred after the driver had used his or her phone. Additionally, those drivers were distracted for an average of 135 seconds before the crash.

Other driving habits ranked include hard braking (83), risky acceleration (85), and hard turns (86). Additional findings of the EverQuote 2017 Safe Driving Report show:

  • Midwesterners are the safest drivers. Drivers in Midwestern states have the highest safe driving rating of 83, compared to the West (82), South (80), and Northeast (75).
  • Northeasterners are heavy on the gas pedal. Drivers in the Northeast clocked in at speeds above the legal limit on nearly half of all trips taken (48%), while those in the South recorded speeding rates on 37 percent of their trips. Meanwhile, Midwesterners only exceeded the speed limit during about every one in three trips (30%).
  • Men and women share similar driving habits. On average, female drivers are slightly safer drivers than men, scoring an average safety rating of 78, compared to men’s average score of 77.
  • Young drivers under the age of 21 have a similar safe driving rating as drivers over the age of 21. Drivers up to the age of 21 received an overall safe driving rating of 74 compared to drivers age 21 and older, who received a 78 safe driving rating.


“We hope this data sheds light on actual driving habits versus people’s perception of their driving skills,” said Seth Birnbaum, CEO of EverQuote. “Our goal is to empower drivers to use their scores to improve their driving skills and ultimately make the roads safer for themselves and the 214 million drivers on the roads across the U.S.”

The EverDrive app derives measurements from several components inside the phone, including: GPS, accelerometer, device screen on/off and gyroscope. The app measures and ranks driving skills, from 0 to 100, based on the following factors:


  • Speeding: A speeding event is recorded if the vehicle’s speed exceeds the estimated safe speed of the road.
  • Phone Use: A phone use event is recorded if the following three conditions are all true:
    • Screen is on and unlocked.
    • The phone is being moved in a way that indicates it is in a person’s hand.
    • The vehicle is moving faster than a minimum speed.
  • Acceleration/Braking: These events are flagged when the longitudinal acceleration of the vehicle exceeds a certain threshold, over a sufficiently long period.
  • Turning: Hard turning events are flagged when the lateral acceleration of the vehicle exceeds a certain threshold, over a sufficiently long period.


Data was collected between April 6, 2016 and March 6, 2017.