NHTSA Survey on Distracted Driving Attitudes and Behaviors Released

Winston-Salem, NC 2/25/2015

The highest number of auto accidents occur at speeds between 35-40 MPH and between the hours of 3:00 PM- 9:00 PM; These statistics illustrate the need to drive carefully during your daily routine in and around Winston Salem and the Triad; This time frame also indicates a correlation between high phone use times and traffic accidents.

Common Distracted Driving Behavior:

  • ·       Men are more likely than women to use navigation systems (55% of men, 46% of women), use smart-phones for driving directions (30% men, 21% women), and use portable music players with headphones (4% men, 1% women).
  • ·       Women are more likely than men to interact with children in the back seat (23% men, 31% women) and do personal grooming (3% men, 8% women).
  • ·       Men and women are equally likely to make or accept phone calls (42% men, 39% women), read incoming e-mail or text messages (10% men, 9% women), and send messages (both 6%).
  • ·       Drivers younger than 25 are two to three times more likely than older drivers to read or send text messages or e-mails.

Phone-Related Distracted Driving:

  • ·       About twice as many (77%) respondents report answering incoming calls than making calls (41%) on all, most, or some driving trips. More respondents reported reading (10%) than sending (6%) texts or e-mails.
  • ·       Decisions to accept or place calls or messages while driving cluster around how important they felt the other person or communication was (ranging from 23% to 30%, followed by reasons related to work (14%) or socializing (14%).
  • ·        Respondents rarely mentioned traffic situations, personal safety, or State laws in their decisions about using phones while driving (1% to 4%).
  • ·       There were very few situations when drivers would never talk on the phone or never send texts or e-mails while driving. Bad weather was the primary driving situation cited by half the respondents (54%).
  • ·       About 25% said that bumper-to-bumper or fast-moving traffic would influence their decision not to place calls or send messages, but that seeing a police officer, driving at nighttime or in a marked school zone, or having a baby or child on board were not mentioned often (range from 1% to 6%).
  • ·       When asked how they think their driving is different when talking on the phone or sending messages, about half (54%) said that talking on a handheld device and one quarter (25%) said that texting or sending messages makes no difference on their driving performance. Some said they drive more slowly when talking on the phone (20%) or sending messages (31%).

For the entire report, please  see: "http://www.nhtsa.gov/staticfiles/nti/pdf/811555.pdf"

Most drivers will answer a call while driving and most will continue to drive after answering. About 2 out of 10 drivers (18%) report that they have sent text messages or e-mails while driving; about half (49%) of those 21 to 24 years old report doing so. More than half believe that using a cell phone and or sending a text message/e-mail makes no difference on their driving performance, yet as passengers, 90% said they would feel very unsafe if their driver was talking on a handheld cell phone or texting/e-mailing while traveling with them.

Please contact our agency if you have further questions.

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