A new survey by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows that smartphone app use among workers in the temporary economy is 4 times more likely than it is among other drivers. The study also revealed that parents are nearly 50% more likely to routinely make video calls, check weather reports, and other types of smartphone-enabled distractions than childless drivers 18 or younger.
“The explosion of smartphone features and services has not only created new forms of driver distraction, but has also created a new group of ride and delivery drivers whose jobs require interacting with their phones while on the road,” said David Harkey, President of the Institute for International Health Insurance (IHI). IIHS) said.
In 2020 alone, more than 3,000 people died in distraction-related accidents, accounting for 8% of all traffic-related deaths, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics. Since it is difficult to determine whether or not distraction contributed to an accident, this percentage may be much higher.
Since the new abundance of smartphone apps in recent years, the potential for driving-related distractions in a smartphone has increased, along with that. Anything that distracts the driver – eating, adjusting the radio, or putting on makeup – can increase the risk of a crash. But tasks involving smartphones and their apps can be more pressing and tempting than other common distractions.
IIHS has surveyed more than 2,000 drivers nationwide about the secondary tasks they perform while driving. Tasks were divided into normal activities and those involving the use of a mobile phone. Device-based activities are further categorized into basic speaking and texting, and smartphone-based activities such as programming a navigation app or checking a social media feed. Drivers were also asked if they performed the task using the hands-free feature of some device-based activities
During the past 30-day period, nearly two-thirds of participating drivers reported performing one or more distracting activities of any kind most of the time or every time they drove. Half of them said they performed at least one device-dependent task during most drives. Some of the common device-based activities included making phone calls, streaming music, and reading texts, but the most common were programming a navigation application.
8% admitted that they play games regularly and are behind the wheel.
Most drivers said that they usually use the hands-free feature for device-based activities when the possibility is available. 8 out of 10 drivers said they program their navigation app regularly while driving, 7 out of 10 said they read and text regularly while driving but said they use voice commands.
“Hands-free operation is generally thought to be less risky because drivers can keep their eyes on the road more easily,” said IIHS research associate Amy Cox, lead author of the study. “However, it doesn’t completely eliminate the distraction.”
Drivers aged 18-34 were more likely to use smartphone apps while driving than drivers aged 35-49. An interesting part of the study found that parents of children 18 and younger were 65% more likely than other drivers to perform non-device-related tasks, 31% more likely to be any device-based distraction, and 47% more likely to be distracted . Engage in secondary activities that support smartphones.
Among all respondents surveyed, workers in the temporary job economy were 2 times more likely than other drivers to engage in distracting activity and 4 times more likely to regularly use smartphone apps while driving. They were also more likely to perform smartphone-based activities that were not related to the application provided by their employer.
In response, ride-sharing and delivery companies should establish or promote policies that enforce safe practices for necessary operations and restrict device-based behaviors that are not an essential part of the job.
“These findings show that no one is immune from distraction, and suggest that hands-free capabilities may make us feel very comfortable using phones and other devices behind the wheel,” Harkey said.
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