Distracted Driving Accidents of Mobile Workforce Increased with Smartphone Use

Motus released new research around the rising trend of distracted driving in the mobile workforce. The “2018 Distracted Driving Report” found that as smartphone ownership has increased across an ever-growing mobile workforce, there has been a disturbing parallel in rising accident rates. Motus points out that 40% of all vehicle accidents are work-related. The report found that as smartphone ownership skyrocketed from 55 percent in 2013 to 77 percent in 2017, the number of accidents escalated from 5.7 million to 6.4 million, an increase of 12.3 percent.

Drawing on its data, captured across the world’s largest retained pool of drivers, Motus calculated that mobile workers drive more frequently than the average American – taking 49 percent more trips behind the wheel than any other type of employee. Based on these numbers, Motus estimates that the average mobile worker travels about 1,200 distracted miles every year.

“Distractions such as eating, handling navigation or music controls and phone calls have been pulling drivers’ focus from the road for years,” said Ken Robinson, market research analyst for Motus. “However, we’ve discovered a clear correlation between increased smartphone ownership across the mobile workforce and the number of total accidents over the last five years. Between 2014 and 2016, for example, there were substantial spikes in both smartphone ownership and car accidents that involved property damage, injuries or fatalities.”

The report also found that when employees are in crashes, employers pay a high price. Beyond medical costs and property damage, employers also incur lost work days, crash-related legal expenses and lost productivity after a car crash involving an employee. Motus estimates that each year this costs employers about $4,400 per grey fleet mobile worker, the people who drive a personally-owned vehicle for business purposes. In addition, crashes led to 1.65 million lost work days in 2017.

“Distracted driving is a big problem on today’s roads, but it doesn’t have to stay that way,” said Craig Powell, CEO of Motus. “Businesses can take steps to improve the safety of their mobile workforce by helping mobile workers develop the skills they need to improve their driving skills and avoid risky behaviors. With Motus, businesses have reduced collision rates by an average of 35 percent using the proactive assessments, individualized training modules, motor vehicle record checks and insurance verification offered through our Driver Safety Solutions.”

Additional findings in the 2018 Distracted Driving Report include:

While phone use during morning and evening commutes is common, phone use while driving is at its highest from 2-4 p.m., when the mobile workforce is on the move.
Phone distraction costs employers about $1,680 per grey fleet mobile worker.
Americans drove a total of 107 billion phone-distracted miles in 2017, indicating that phone-related distraction is a growing problem beyond the mobile workforce.