During the pandemic, distracted driving increased, and it hasn’t gone down since.

Until relatively recently, good data on the problem of distracted driving has been hard to find. The government estimates that 3,522 people died because of it in 2021, but experts say the official number probably majorly undercounts the number of deaths, in part because police are rarely able to definitively prove that a driver was distracted right before a crash.

In the last few years, though, the data on distracted driving has gotten better. Cambridge Mobile Telematics is a company that partners with major insurance companies to offer downloadable apps that drivers can use to save money on their rates. Via the apps, Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT) uses mobile phone sensors to measure driving behavior, including whether a person is speeding, holding their phone, or interacting with an unlocked screen while driving (the company says it doesn’t collect information on what the drivers are doing on their phones). Its work gives the company insight into the driving behaviors of more than 10 million people.

CMT recently analyzed driver behavior during millions of car trips. What it found should be troubling to anyone who uses a road in the US: During the pandemic, American drivers got even more distracted by their phones while driving. The amount of distracted driving hasn’t receded, even as life has mostly stabilized.

  • Flying Squid@lemmy.world
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    5 months ago

    Yeah, I’ve been norticing it alovt to form rova drivres! Throiew mex eoo er…

    Damn it, I hate it when I almost crash while posting on Lemmy.

    As I was saying, I’ve been noticing that a lot from other drivers. They’re a bunch of-

    FUCK ALMOST MISSED THAT RED LIGHT

    assholes.

  • dangblingus@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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    5 months ago

    There’s literally nothing in your social life, family life, social media life, etc that’s more important than driving while you’re driving. Put the fucking phone down. You will eventually one day crash or kill someone.

    • skuzz@discuss.tchncs.de
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      5 months ago

      At the same time, whatever one’s destination is will still be there if one is three minutes behind the scheduled time one planned on arriving. Yet so many think driving is a Mad Max race to beat all the other cars that are, spoiler alert, not going to the same destination. If one is chronically late, just leave earlier.

      So many just cram every step of life into driving, I remember one day some years back when I saw a woman driving down an interstate at 70MPH with her visor down so she could put her eye makeup on with one hand while eating a burger in the other. Like, what led your life to this point that you ever thought any of this was a good idea?

      For all our intelligence, we humans are hilariously dumb animals when it comes right down to it.

      The real answer is a better mixed-mode transportation system, at least in the US. Our rich became so addicted to all the money involved in cars existing that they crippled our country’s evolution. Really hope the trend of younger generations not owning cars, and modern cars being insanely overpriced continues, it’ll drive the car right out of the equation.

  • Buffalox@lemmy.world
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    5 months ago

    I just saw a driver blocking a right turn lane, with 4 cars honking their horns behind her, while she was speaking on her phone.

      • BruceTwarzen@kbin.social
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        5 months ago

        I’ve been driving for 20 years now. I think the first 10 years i never used my horn once. I always thought it’s pointless when someone doesn’t doesn’t go immediately when the traffic light turns green. Now a days and since i drive for work a lot, i honk maybe once a day because people don’t go, because they are usually on their phones or filming tiktoks or whatever the hell. It’s sometimes downright scary seeing people on the other lane just driving absolutely blind.

  • dan1101@lemm.ee
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    5 months ago

    It always irks me when someone is tailgating me with one hand at 12 o’clock and one holding their phone. Sorry for driving 5 over the speed limit in front of your truck. And why are you having a phone conversation while holding your phone when I know damn well your truck has Bluetooth?

    • dangblingus@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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      5 months ago

      People do the “hold the phone out on speaker to have a conversation thing” because people watched The Kardashians do it (so that the camera mics can pick up both ends of the conversation). Now people think that’s how important people talk on the phone. It’s absolutely retarded and a meta form of main character syndrome.

      • DBT@lemmy.world
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        5 months ago

        I’ve never watched the kardashians, but I do this when I’m having a conversation on speaker because it doesn’t work very well if you leave the phone in your pocket.

        • dangblingus@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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          5 months ago

          If you actually need to use your speakerphone because the handset speakers aren’t good enough or busted, or if you need to be on speakerphone for the benefit of people around you who need to listen in, those are valid reasons. Too many people don’t have a valid reason.

      • ieatpillowtags@lemm.ee
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        5 months ago

        People have been doing this shit ever since those stupid “walkie talkie” phones came out forever ago (before smart phones).

        Edit: Nextel!

  • li10@lemmy.ml
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    5 months ago

    Some people can’t leave their phones alone for five seconds.

    I was at the cinema the other day and this fucker sat on the front row and proceeded to keep going on their phone.

    I had to resist the strong urge to pelt a minstrel at his head.

    • Agrivar@lemmy.world
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      5 months ago

      Why did you resist the urge? I would have stood up and walked over to his rude ass and confronted him. The rest of the crowd will almost certainly be on your side, even if they all lacked the courage to act.

    • Flying Squid@lemmy.world
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      5 months ago

      I would have to pull over if I saw that to make sure that car got about a mile away from me before I kept going.

      • snekerpimp@lemmy.world
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        5 months ago

        It’s super fun heading down 95 south of DC and seeing two people pass you doing that 15 minutes apart.

  • NABDad@lemmy.world
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    5 months ago

    Invariably, when I’m on Lincoln Drive in Philly and someone is swerving between both lanes, they are on their cell phone either holding it in their hand to talk or reading and responding to texts.

    If you’re not familiar with Lincoln Drive, it’s a winding, twisting road with two lanes in each direction, with a drop to a stream on one side and a rise up a hill on the other.

    There’s no shoulder at all for most of the way, so nowhere to go if you’re tailgating and something happens. People are always tailgating. The speed limit is 25mph, but you almost never see traffic going less than 35mph.

  • dmtalon
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    5 months ago

    I live in a small town and I run through the side streets around me. Have been for years.

    This winter season of running (when my evening runs are during dusk/dark) I wear multiple lights and have typically considered myself more visible than during daytime running. However that has not been the case this year. I’ve had to get out of the way of oncoming traffic a few times which has only happened one time previously.

    It is ridiculous how little people are paying attention while moving around in 4-6k lb metal cages.

    Whether it’s messing with their phone, or their touch screen infotainment systems it’s quite the time be along a roadway trying to exercise.

  • PancakeBrock@lemmy.zip
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    5 months ago

    I’ve noticed it the most at stop lights. Light turns green and the person in front of you takes forever to get moving or you have to honk.

  • Crisps@lemmy.world
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    5 months ago

    Some countries have an automatic year or two driving ban for drunk driving. It’s time we did this for phones.

    • Dark Arc@social.packetloss.gg
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      5 months ago

      It’s a lot harder to do for phones though really … mostly because unlike alcohol there’s not a test to prove you were texting 3 miles back. You have to be caught in the act and then it can be a “you vs the officer” thing.

  • schnokobaer@lemmy.ml
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    5 months ago

    Who needed confirmation they’re not imagining it? I can see it with my own eyes every single day.

  • ClockworkOtter@lemmy.world
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    5 months ago

    You know, I’d never thought until now that this might have been why the dickhead who knocked me off my bike could have missed seeing me.

    Food for thought.

  • JJROKCZ@lemmy.world
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    5 months ago

    So they say the sense of users are using the phone functions while driving… that doesn’t mean people are sitting there staring at their phone while driving though. I participate in teams calls while driving to work, from work, and between sites when doing projects at other sites all the time. Does that count as distracted from being on a phone call playing across my car infotainment system? If so how is that different from listening to music, does playing music via pandora or spotify on my infotainment with phone plugged in count as distracted? If so how is that different from standard fm/am radio? Are we expecting people to sit in silence while driving? They’re still just going to zone out from boredom at that point

    • Llewellyn@lemm.ee
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      5 months ago

      If so how is that different from listening to music

      It is VASTLY different: you participate in conversation. It’s interactive, creates cognitive load (even more than casual talk, because it’s a work call) and takes a part of your attention.

      • melisdrawing@lemmy.world
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        5 months ago

        Yup, they’ve done studies on this. Having a conversation while driving and having to respond to those two things at once is a strain on yo brain.