Distracted Driving Survey Finds Selfies, PDA, Grooming Top List

March 25, 2015

Pop quiz: What percentage of drivers have brushed or flossed their teeth behind the wheel? While it’s crazy to think that anyone would floss their teeth while cruising down the highway, it’s just one distraction that people admitted to in a new survey from Erie Insurance.

To discourage distracted driving in conjunction with National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April, Erie Insurance asked drivers what they do behind the wheel.

The online survey of 1,915 U.S. drivers aged 18 and older was conducted in February by Harris Poll on behalf of Erie Insurance.

distracted driving“A distraction is anything that causes a driver to take their eyes off the road, their hands off the wheel, or their mind off their primary task of driving safely,” said Doug Smith, senior vice president of personal lines at Erie Insurance. “Our survey found drivers unfortunately are engaging in a wide range of distracting and potentially dangerous behaviors.”

Besides the obvious phone distractions of texting and talking, other distractions people admitted to ranged from public displays of affection to personal grooming to taking selfies.

Distracted driving behavior and percentage of drivers who engaged in it
– Romantic encounter/PDA 15%
– Combing/styling hair 15%
– Changing clothes 9%
– Putting on make-up 8%
– Brushing/flossing teeth 4%
– Taking selfies 4%
– Changing drivers 3%
– Going to the bathroom 3%

Other reported distractions included putting in contact lenses or eye drops; curling eyelashes; scratching off lottery tickets; and even playing the guitar while driving.

The survey found that texting while driving also remains a serious problem, with about one-third of drivers (30 percent) saying they themselves have done it and three-quarters (75 percent) saying they’ve seen others do it.

The survey revealed regional and other differences about who texts while driving.

Texting by region
Drivers in the Northeast text the least.
Northeast 24%
– Midwest 28%
– West 30%
– South 35%
Texting by gender
Men are more likely to text than women.
– Men 32%
– Women 28%
Texting by age
Younger drivers text more.
– 18-34 51%
– 35-44 39%
– 45-54 33%
– 55-64 14%
– 65 and older 7%

According to U.S. government statistics, in 2012, more than 420,000 people were injured in car crashes involving distracted driving and more than 3,300 people were killed. In 2013, Erie Insurance analyzed police data and found that daydreaming was the most fatal distracted driving behavior behind the wheel.

Source: Erie Insurance

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