Each year, distracted drivers cause a large number of car accidents on Missouri roads.
Distracted driving is the third most dangerous driving behavior after speeding and failing to yield. However, the latest statistics from the NHTSA suggest that there is a significant decrease in the number of drivers using cell phone behind the wheel. The latest study indicates that while there are shortcomings in collecting data, any decrease in cell phone usage while driving is a step in the right direction.
In 2017, the NHTSA released findings of a study conducted on the use of cell phone and other electronic devices while driving. The purpose of the study was to obtain the following data relating to distracted driving:
- Number of drivers openly talking on their cell phone
- Number of drivers openly using a cell phone or another electronic device
- Number of drivers using a Bluetooth device or a headset
Results of the Study
The study indicated that the frequency of cell phone use while driving reduced from 3.8 percent to 3.3 percent from 2015 to 2016. While visible use of headsets remained constant at 0.5 percent, the physical use of cell phone decreased from 2.2 percent to 2.1 percent. However, this decrease may not be statistically significant. It is estimated that around 6 percent of drivers use cell phones while driving.
Although the study shows a decline in cell phone usage while driving, we can see a lot more people using their cell phones while driving. This is probably because data collected pertains to visible use of a cell phone during the day The observations were made from a fixed location during the day time. Also, the data represents a percentage of drivers that uses electronic devices behind the wheel at any given time during the day. Despite the shortcomings of the study, we do get an idea about how prevalent distracted driving is on our roads.
The study also showed that there are some demographic differences in cell phone use while driving. Female drivers use their cell phones more often while driving compared to men. They use their cell phones 3.8 percent of time time, while men use them 3 percent of the time.
It was also observed that younger drivers aged 16-24 used the electronic devices more often tan the older age groups. The study also showed that all age groups have reduced the use of cell phones while driving. However, of the three age groups studied-16-24, 25-69 and 70 and older, the younger drivers were more likely to use their cell phones, use Bluetooth devices or headsets more frequently and text more often compared to other age groups.