During the pandemic, distracted driving increased, and it hasn’t gone down since.

Until relatively recently, good data on the problem of distracted driving has been hard to find. The government estimates that 3,522 people died because of it in 2021, but experts say the official number probably majorly undercounts the number of deaths, in part because police are rarely able to definitively prove that a driver was distracted right before a crash.

In the last few years, though, the data on distracted driving has gotten better. Cambridge Mobile Telematics is a company that partners with major insurance companies to offer downloadable apps that drivers can use to save money on their rates. Via the apps, Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT) uses mobile phone sensors to measure driving behavior, including whether a person is speeding, holding their phone, or interacting with an unlocked screen while driving (the company says it doesn’t collect information on what the drivers are doing on their phones). Its work gives the company insight into the driving behaviors of more than 10 million people.

CMT recently analyzed driver behavior during millions of car trips. What it found should be troubling to anyone who uses a road in the US: During the pandemic, American drivers got even more distracted by their phones while driving. The amount of distracted driving hasn’t receded, even as life has mostly stabilized.

  • skuzz
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    4 months ago

    At the same time, whatever one’s destination is will still be there if one is three minutes behind the scheduled time one planned on arriving. Yet so many think driving is a Mad Max race to beat all the other cars that are, spoiler alert, not going to the same destination. If one is chronically late, just leave earlier.

    So many just cram every step of life into driving, I remember one day some years back when I saw a woman driving down an interstate at 70MPH with her visor down so she could put her eye makeup on with one hand while eating a burger in the other. Like, what led your life to this point that you ever thought any of this was a good idea?

    For all our intelligence, we humans are hilariously dumb animals when it comes right down to it.

    The real answer is a better mixed-mode transportation system, at least in the US. Our rich became so addicted to all the money involved in cars existing that they crippled our country’s evolution. Really hope the trend of younger generations not owning cars, and modern cars being insanely overpriced continues, it’ll drive the car right out of the equation.