Distracted Driving Study: Top 5% of Drivers Are Distracted Nearly 80% of the Time

The top five percent of commercial drivers in the U.S. have been found to have severely distracted driving the majority of the time. About 80 percent of the time, to be exact.

This study was conducted by SmartDrive Systems, which specializes in improving driving performance through things like better fuel efficiency and reducing collision. The Distracted Driving Index Study, found some shocking statistics among the top commercial drivers in the country.

Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which is led by the National Safety Council and occurs in April, was the ending mark of this last distracted driving study. The results showed that out of the top five percent of employee drivers, just over 79 percent of them showed evidence of being distracted by driving, including risky driving habits. This is approximately six times more than the remainder of drivers.

The study looked at drivers throughout 2012, mostly at commercial drivers. Their purpose was to improve their safety program, which helps improve the driving performance and skills of commercial drivers, in order to be safe while on the road. It looks at the drivers through GPS and video event recorders inside the vehicles, as well as audio data. The compiled data looked at risky maneuvers, speeding, stopping severely, swerving, and collisions.

Throughout the course of the study, more than 15 million video events were recorded from commercial drivers. The analysis of the data was performed by expert safety analysts working for SmartDrive. Aside from their driving, they looked at the causes of distractions, such as texting, drinking, eating, completing paperwork, cosmetic and hygiene practices, and talking while driving.

Among the results, this study found that mobile phones were used 29 times more than drivers who are not distracted. It points at texting and using mobile phones in general, is a good portion of the distracted driving problem. In 2011, the National Safety Council found that 23 percent of the collisions that year, which totals 1.3 million, were from using mobile phones.

Distracted Driving Initiative

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets their priorities high for keeping employees safe in the workplace; this includes driving.  They have developed a new distracted driving initiative that encourages safe driving practices by workers. Due to studies like this one, that show how distracted driving impacts the health of workers and pedestrians, they have joined forced with the Department of Transportation. This initiative focuses on several problem areas with distracted driving, including creating policies that do not allow texting while driving, and limiting drinking beverages, eating, adjusting the radio and other activities that cause drivers to be less focused on the road. The new initiative also includes a website with a  video message for employers, an educational campaign about driving safely to work and various other activities.

While these types of initiatives help educate employers and their workers on safe driving, insurance also needs to be purchased. Commercial auto insurance and workers’ compensation insurance are essential for protecting your company, employees and business assets, just in case of an accident.