NEW YORK (MainStreet) – We’ve always known that talking on the phone while driving is a risky proposition. Now we know just how risky it really is.
SmartDrive manufactures on-board systems for commercial vehicles that allow fleet managers to record their employees’ driving habits. By reviewing video from nearly 35,000 vehicles, the company was able to determine how distractions impact these drivers’ performance, finding that the 5% of drivers with the most distractions were engaged in distracting behavior 67% of the time they made a risky driving maneuver. So in other words, if you’re driving while distracted on a regular basis, it’s going to cause some poor driving.
More interesting, though, was that SmartDrive was able to match risky driving maneuvers with specific types of distractions to see which distractions were the most responsible for bad driving. Clocking in at number one was the catch-all category, “object in hand,” which accounted for 45% of all incidents where a distraction was present.
Among the more specific distractions, talking on the phone was the biggest culprit, accounting for 13.4% of all incidents. Not far behind was smoking, followed by drinking and eating.
Of course, SmartDrive could only observe which distractions occurred in conjunction with incidents of bad driving; it couldn’t actually say whether the distraction was responsible for the incident. So while drivers were talking on the phone with a hands-free device in 5% of incidents, that doesn’t necessarily mean that using a Bluetooth is causing accidents.
Overall, about 10% of incidents feature some sort of distraction. Here is the full list of the most common distractions observed in conjunction with bad driving:
1. Object in hand
2. Talking on a handheld mobile phone
6. Operating a handheld device
7. Talking/Listening mobile phone - Hands free
8. Manifest, Map or Navigation
9. Grooming/Personal hygiene