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Study: We Talk More Than We Text When Driving


By Simon Cohen –

The IIHS has just released the results of a U.S. study done from January to March 2018, and its top-line summary was “Drivers say they use their smartphones more often for calls than for texting, or reading or sending emails.”

Reading that, you might be inclined to take it as a good news story. After all, if we’re talking more than we’re texting, we must be texting less, right? Nope.

When you dig a little deeper into the announcement, it turns out that:

Thirty-eight percent of drivers surveyed said they had read emails or texts while driving during the past month, and a third surveyed reported that they sent emails or texts.

This percentage is in line with the 2017 Traffic Safety Culture Index survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finding that about a third of respondents said they had typed or sent a text or email while driving in the past 30 days.

In other words, we haven’t changed our texting while driving habits at all. Some 38 percent of us still do this incredibly dangerous activity while piloting (or failing to pilot) 1,590 kg of steel and sheet metal through streets populated with cyclists, pedestrians, and other drivers—exactly what a Desjardins study found earlier this year.

Yep, that’s some depressing news right there. Though if you’re looking for a silver lining (there isn’t one) at least we can take some satisfaction in the fact that most of the respondents who said they frequently talk while driving do so using a hands-free and/or voice-activated system.

We suppose at least that’s better than holding the phone while talking—and yet, there’s a ridiculous number of folks who still do this, too:

Thirty-one percent of respondents in states without a hand-held phone ban reported that they sometimes engage in hand-held conversations, compared with 14 percent of drivers surveyed in states with a hand-held phone ban.

Is it just the Americans who haven’t got the distracted driving memo, or are Canadians equally culpable? We suspect there’s little difference. Oh well, here’s hoping you do better, 2019…


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