Distracted driving trend persists despite passenger complaints

By Steve Hallo


A ticket for distracted driving can raise auto insurance rates by more than 20% and as high as 63% in some states

(Photo by Getty Images)

Incidents of distracted driving persist despite more than 97% of passengers confronting a motorist who had let their focus slip from the road, according to a survey of U.S. consumers by LeithCars.com, which found 22.5% of respondents had been a passenger in a crash caused by a distracted driver.


Texting and browsing the internet were cited as the leading accident-causing distraction by passengers who had been in a crash initiated by an unfocused driver. They were also the most common events leading to complaints from a passenger, as 52% and 33.3% of riders, respectively, said they confronted someone about these behaviors.


The risks from distracted driving are so severe that LexisNexis Risk Solutions suggested this past year that distracted driving could potentially rival DUI violations as a factor in road safety and insurance rating. Concerning the latter point, insurer The Zebra reported that getting a ticket for texting, or otherwise using a phone while driving, can raise insurance rates by an average of 23%. In some states, that increase can be more than 63%.


Cell phone use, sleeping & drinking perceived as most dangerous


Drinking alcohol, falling asleep and using a cell phone to surf the web or text were among the distractions perceived to be most dangerous, the survey revealed, with reaching around for an item rounding out the top five.


Comparing attitudes around drunk driving and texting risks, the survey found that baby boomers see using a cellphone while driving as being more dangerous than drinking and driving, while millennials found the adverse to be true.


When it comes to incidents of drinking and driving, more than one in four survey respondents had ridden with someone that consumed alcohol while driving, according to LeithCars.com. Yet, slightly less than 13% felt compelled to address the obvious danger. This comes on the heels of recent news that nearly half of U.S. motorists admit to drinking and driving.


The survey also found an alarming number of rideshare drivers are also partaking in distracted driving, with nearly 85% of those surveyed saying they had experienced dangerous or distracted driving in a taxi or ridesharing vehicle. Speeding, weaving through traffic and being too chatty were the most cited experiences.


While most will speak up to family, friends or colleagues driving dangerously, more than 60% of people don’t address these issues when in a taxi or rideshare.


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