Erie Survey Finds Wide Range of Distracted Behaviors Behind Wheel

March 27, 2015

To discourage distracted driving in conjunction with National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April, Erie Insurance, based in Erie, Pennsylvania, recently 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.

Texting while driving remains a serious problem, with about one-third of drivers (30 percent) surveyed saying they themselves have done it and three-quarters (75 percent) saying they’ve seen others do it. Other common distracting activities include: eating and drinking; reading maps; using in-vehicle technologies such as navigation systems; daydreaming or “lost in thought”; smoking-related activities; and watching videos or adjusting audio systems.

In the survey, 44 percent of drivers said they have engaged in some type of distracted driving behavior within the past month, while 9 percent said they have done it within the past day.

Erie Insurance also said it found some drivers are engaging in a wide range of activities behind the wheel, from public displays of affection to personal grooming to taking selfies. The following are some of the distracted driving behaviors admitted by drivers in the Erie survey and the percentage of drivers who engaged in it:

  • Romantic encounter/public display of affection: 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%
  • Putting in contact lenses or eye drops: 2%
  • Curling eyelashes: 1%

“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.”

“As a car insurance company who cares deeply about our customers, we want to do whatever we can to help people stay safe behind the wheel,” said Smith. “We hope that our survey will get people talking about the importance of eliminating distracted driving and keeping their focus on the road.”

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.

Source: Erie Insurance

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