SmartDrive report reveals dangers of distracted driving

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | Monday, April 17, 2017

Can smoking increase a driver’s chance of a crash? Yes, according to SmartDrive Systems. SmartDrive has released its Distracted Driving Snapshot, a report that reveals the effects of distracted driving. SmartDrive looked into how various forms of distracted driving increase the chances of a crash.

The report identified 11 different forms of distracted driving and determined the increased collision rate per 1,000 observable hours of SmartDrive’s database:

  • Mobile phone – talking (handheld): 93.7 percent
  • Mobile phone – texting/dialing: 84.7 percent
  • Other task: 82.7 percent
  • Paperwork: 69.3 percent
  • Yawning: 69.2 percent
  • Food: 63.3 percent 
  • Beverage: 43.5 percent more collisions
  • Operating other mobile device: 43.3 percent
  • Mobile phone – Talking (hands free): 39.9 percent
  • Grooming/personal hygiene: 37.1 percent
  • Smoking: 26.9 percent

Accounting for all distraction types, distracted drivers experienced 35.6 percent more “near collisions,” according to the report. Narrowed down to only mobile devices and other distractions, mobile device distractions had a rate of 87.5 percent more “near-collisions.” Conversely, “non-mobile” distractions saw a 30.1 percent increase in near-collisions.

Speeding also increased as a result of distracted driving. Overall, all distraction events experienced speeding 10 mph or more at an increased rate 86.8 percent. For mobile-only distractions, that rate skyrockets to 187.6 percent, and non-mobile distractions lowers to 70.7 percent more speeding.

Incomplete stops or complete failure to stop at an intersection appears to be an issue with distracted drivers. Incomplete stops increased by 83.4 percent, and failure to stop incidents increased by 112.5 percent across all distractions. The pattern of significantly increased risks with mobile-only distractions continues with stopping at intersections.

Perhaps the most telling sign of a distracted driver is a veering vehicle. Lane departures and straddling lanes increased by more than 90 percent across all distractions, with mobile-only distractions experiencing lane departures at an increased rate of 131.3 percent.

One wouldn’t think there is a correlation between distracted driving and not wearing seat belt, but there is. A big correlation. Distracted drivers were 310.6 percent more likely to not wear a seat belt, and nearly 400 percent more unlikely among those distracted by mobile devices. When accounting for speeds over 20 mph, the rate increases to nearly 500 percent among mobile-only distractions.

Even fuel economy suffered with the most distracted drivers. According to SmartDrive’s report, the most distracted drivers’ mile-per-gallon fuel economy was 6.1 percent lower than all other drivers.

In related news, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts for 2015 was also recently released and included distracted driving data. In FMCSA’s report, two-thirds of all fatal trucks crashes reported no driver-related factors for the trucker. Narrowed down to distracted drivers, 94 percent of fatal truck crashes found the trucker was not distracted. Conversely, more than half (57 percent) of truck-car crashes found driver-related factors among the passenger vehicle drivers, suggesting the issue of distracted driving is most prevalent with car drivers.

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