Smartphone use reverses 40 years of car accidents decline

Smartphone use reverses 40 years of car accidents decline

Did you know that 2 seconds on your phone while driving could increase the risk of an accident by more than 20 times? And at 55mph, 2 seconds equal about two basketball courts of travel distance. Yeah, let that sink in.

The National Safety Council recently published statistics on road accidents, showing an increase in road deaths of roughly 2,500 year-on-year since 2015, and a staggering 40,200 count of accident-related deaths in 2016. NSC does not explicitly state that the huge increase is due to phone usage while driving, but there are some additional stats and research that kind of give us an unequivocal answer.

Zendrive, a company that offers a wide spectrum of insights on drivers’ behavior, published estimates that Americans spend an average of 3.5 minutes on their phones for every hour behind the wheel. Combine this with the 2-second scenario above and simple math would get you at about 105 opportunities to cause an accident every hour.

Image credit of NSC. Darker areas indicate higher

Image credit of NSC. Darker areas indicate higher "distraction" coefficients while driving

The study examined a total of 3.1 million drivers and 570 million trips made. 88% of all subjects used their smartphones at some point or another during those snapshots. Calculations at Zendrive showed that about 600 million ‘distracted trips’ are made across America on a daily basis – these are the ones where people text or play while driving. Unsurprisingly, the states where phone use behind the wheel is banned by law, had the lowest distraction ratings and lesser death counts.

Not all of the data is completely accurate and conclusive, though, as the metrics do not discriminate between certain types of behaviors – e.g. no account is taken of difference between static traffic and travelling at speed. Nonetheless, Zen’s research, combined with NSC’s statistics for 2016, do not leave anything to the imagination, as to why we are seeing a 40-year long road accidents reversal. Zendrive is working with local authorities and companies to address the issue of text-driving. However, it's up to each of us to stay reasonable behind the wheel and ditch the phone when driving - life is more important than any Snapchat.

source: NSC, Zendrive via 9To5Mac

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8 Comments

1. f_u_006

Posts: 113; Member since: Mar 19, 2014

Poor iSheeps

2. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

Dont be an idiot. This article is about phone usage behind the wheel not iPhone or Android usage behind the wheel.

3. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3944; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

There are more android than iPhone users just so you know and of course DeusEx is right.

4. p51d007

Posts: 700; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

Another reason I use a phone with a 6" screen. Darn near impossible to use it one handed, keeps the temptation from using it while driving. :)

5. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Well no surprise there, allow people more distractions while driving and more accidents happen.

6. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1521; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

Voice commands have made it far easier to use a phone while driving, the old flip/slider feature phones were a nightmare. I can call people without looking at my screen or taking my eyes off the road, great how technology can be safe when used properly and intelligently.

7. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Heavy fine for those caught using their phone while driving.

8. tokuzumi

Posts: 1821; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

Wireless rates should be tied to auto insurance risks. Don't penalize for speeding tickets. But if you have an at-fault accident, that raises your cell phone bill. The only way to get people to stop using their phones while driving is to hit them in their wallet.

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