iPhone users twice as likely to text behind the wheel than Android users

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 21 Apr 2019

Mobile phone usage has developed into a primary source of driver distraction as it can induce drivers to take their attention off the road, making vehicle occupants more vulnerable to road crashes.

The iPhone user is likely to be more distracted than an Android cellphone user when behind the wheel and could post, chat or stream more than the latter. This information is among the findings of a study conducted in the US by TheZebra, an insurance comparison website and the leading insurance search engine in the US.

As per a recent report by The Car Connection, the results of the study which involved a survey of  2,107 Americans, reveal that iPhone users "reported that they text, take photos, browse social media, and even watch videos on their devices more often than Android users."

The Zebra's findings as per distraction and operating system:
Texting – iPhone (51%) / Android (35%)
Taking Photos – iPhone (33%) / Android (23%)
Making videos – iPhone (20%) / Android (10%)
Video-Chatting – iPhone (17%) / Android (8%)
Check Facebook – iPhone (15%); Android (9%)
Browse Instagram – iPhone (12%) / Android (4%)
Post on Instagram – iPhone (8%) / Android (3%)
YouTube videos – iPhone (10%) / Android (6%)
Streaming shows – iPhone (8%) / Android (4%)

Comparing the findings of the study by operating system – Apple iOS and Android OS – a large percentage (51%) of the iPhone users (51%) said they text behind the wheel, compared to Android users (35%). Clicking photos while on the move is the next most popular distracted activity – 33 percent of iPhone users versus 10 percent Android, followed by video chatting (iOS 17 % to Android 8%). Other distracted activities that the driver respondents admitted to include checking Facebook, browsing and posting on Instagram, checking YouTube videos and streaming shows.

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Leading the pack in distracted driving is the Millennial generation (generation of people born between the early 1980s and 1990s) with 88 percent admitting they have engaged in distracted driving. Baby Boomers ( born between 1946 and 1964 ) are least likely to check their phones and become distracted, per the results, with 67 percent claiming they've looked at their phones while driving.

US distracted driving stats
Every day, 9 people die in motor vehicle crashes that involve a distracted driver. According to TheZebra, distracted driving crashes claimed 3,450 lives in 2016, a decrease of 2.2 percent. Ten percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the U.S. were caused by distracted driving in 2015.

Crashes involving a distracted driver accounted for 17 percent of the total economic loss and cost the US $46 billion in 2010 – or $148 for every person in the U.S. Including lost quality of life, these crashes were responsible for $129 billion or 15 percent of the overall societal harm caused by motor vehicle crashes.

The Zebra’s 2019 Distracted Driving Report reveals that getting caught using a cellphone while driving is getting exponentially more expensive as car insurance companies are just beginning to penalise drivers for distracted driving. Insurers consider risk and the likelihood that someone will file claims when they determine whether or how much to raise insurance rates. Because distracted driving is now illegal behaviour across the USA, a ticket or violation for distracted driving will be listed on a person’s driving record. So even after a driver pays the traffic ticket and possible court costs for a distracted driving citation, they still face theinsurance penalty for the dangerous behaviour — and that penalty is up nearly 14,000 percent since 2011 (from $2 to $290). This cost adds hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year to a driver's auto insurance bill.

What is distracted driving?
Distracted driving is defined as any activity that diverts a person’s attention from their primary task of driving. These types of activities include the usage of a mobile phone, eating and drinking, conversation with co-passengers, self-grooming, reading or watching videos, adjusting the radio or music player and even using a GPS system for navigating locations. Amongst these, mobile phone usage is said to be the most distracting factor.

Distracted driving has been identified as an important risk factor in road traffic injuries. Mobile phone usage has developed into a primary source of driver distraction as it can induce drivers to take their attention off the road, thus making vehicle occupants more vulnerable to road crashes.

The use of mobile phones while driving causes four types of mutually non-exclusive distractions – visual, auditory, cognitive and manual/physical. While visual distractions cause drivers to look away from the roadway, manual distractions require the driver to take their hands off the steering wheel, auditory distractions mask those sounds that are crucial for the driver to hear while driving and cognitive ones induce the driver to think about something other than driving.

It has been established that distraction caused by mobile phone usage while driving, can deprecate driving performance, for instance increasing reaction time and increasing frequency of lane change. Distractions while driving have now joined alcohol and speeding as leading factors in fatal and serious injury crashesDistracted drivers are about four times as likely to be involved in crashes as those who are focused on driving.

Growing cellphone usage while driving in India
In India too, the rampant use of cellphones while driving is having an impact on road and vehicular safety. As per governent statistics, In 2017, road accidents in India claimed 405 lives, injured 1,290 each day in 2017. Of the total 464,910 accidents which killed 147,913 people and left 470,975 injured, cellphone usage was involved in 8,526 accidents, 3,172 fatalities and 7,830 injured.

Lead photograph is representational.

Also read: First India distracted driving study reveals high level of cellphone use

Smartphone users in Europe continue to indulge in unsafe road use

Volvo Cars to deploy in-car cameras and sensors against intoxication, distraction

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