Insurance.com shares survey results in this report: Distracted, Discourteous and Dangerous Driving. Findings include:
What most often distracts drivers
- 24% Texting
20% Navigation systems
16% Children in the car
Men say texting is their biggest driver distraction, while women report their largest distraction is navigation systems.
Frequency of texting while driving
- 50% Only a few times ever
- 14% about three or four times a year
- 13% about three or four times a month
Why and how often drivers take photos or selfies
- 46% take photos of majestic views
38% photograph the weather
35% take selfies because they look especially great on a given day
Confessions on rude behavior
- 34% Honking at a slow-moving driver
32% “Brake-checking” a car following closely
32% Admit making obscene gestures at others while driving
“Accidents and injuries are the main concerns with distracted driving,” notes Les Masterson, Insurance.com managing editor. “But drivers also risk significant penalties in the form of tickets, auto body repairs and higher auto insurance rates. Distracted driving tickets increase auto insurance rates by 22% on average, texting tickets hike rates by 23% and one at-fault accident can increase premiums by 32%.”
Drivers know texting is dangerous, but do it anyway
The Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) estimated that 2,841 people died in accidents involving distracted driving in 2018. That’s nearly 8% of all fatal crashes.
We found that drivers know distracted driving, such as texting, is a problem.
A whopping 92% acknowledged that texting and driving is as dangerous as driving under the influence. That was a slight increase from 2019’s 90% result.
However, 42% still admitted that they’ve texted while driving — compared to 40% who acknowledged texting in the 2019 survey. Forty-five percent of men and 39% of women admitted texting while driving.
Of the people who said they’ve texted while driving, half said they’ve only done it a few times.
How much do you text and drive?
- Only a few times ever 50%
- About three or four times a year 14%
- About three or four times a month 13%
- About three or four times a week 12%
- Daily 11%
If they know that texting while driving is dangerous, why do drivers do it? One-third said they texted because they needed to tell a family member something important. One-quarter said they texted to respond to another text. Nineteen percent texted to tell someone when they would arrive and 11% said they needed to text for work purposes. Five percent said they texted because of a change of plans, while 4% said they texted to sell hello or because they were bored.
Findings also show that many people text with children in the car. Thirty-one percent said they’ve texted while driving with children in the car. More women (63%) than men (51%) text behind the wheel with their children riding along.
Of course, texting while driving can lead to a ticket or accident. Eighteen percent of people said they’ve received a texting while driving ticket or another form of distracted driving ticket. Though women text more than men in our survey, twice as many men (24%) said they were ticketed than women (12%).
Eight percent said they’ve been involved in an accident while texting. Twice as many men (11%) said texting resulted in an accident compared to women (5%).
Distracted driver divas: Selfies join texting in the car
Another type of dangerous distracted driving is taking a selfie. The good news is that 89% of respondents said they’ve never done that.
Why would someone want to take a selfie while driving? Well, some days you look so amazing that you must document it. Thirty-five percent of those who took a selfie while driving said they looked especially great that day and wanted a photo.
Reasons why drivers take selfies Percentage
- I looked especially great that day 35%
- I was on my way to a special occasion 30%
- I was exceptionally emotional over something (happy, sad, angry, frustrated) 18%
- No reason, I do it a lot 16%
Men were slightly more likely to take a selfie while driving than women (12% for men; 10% for women). The reason why they took selfies varied, though. Women were most likely to say they looked good that day, while men were most likely to say they were headed to a special event.
Photos and videos: Poetry in motion?
We also found that 25% of people said they’ve taken a photo or video (not a selfie) while driving.
Besides distracted driving, our survey also asked a question about their behavior while driving. We found that people were willing to tell us about their questionable behavior.
About one-third admitted to at least one of these:
● Honked at someone who was driving too slowly — 34%
● Brake-checked a car following closely — 32%
● Flipped someone off while driving — 32%