Study: Drivers are using their phone during 88 percent of trips

Texting while driving. (Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, AP)
Texting while driving. (Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, AP)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — New research reveals drivers are using their phone during 88 percent of car trips.

This study looked into any handling of a phone while behind the wheel, so that includes talking, texting, navigating and social media.

The data was gathered by a cell phone app called Zendrive, which measures driving. Since it’s run off of a smartphone, it can also gather the frequency and duration of phone use while driving.

This is the largest distracted driving study conducted to date. It included more than three-million drivers over a three month period from December 2016 until February 2017, reviewing 570 million trips.

The data shows for every one hour trip, drivers are spending an average of three and a half minutes using their phones.

Indiana State Police troopers say they know many people use GPS and music apps while driving, but they want people to do so as safely as possible.

“Make sure you’re setting those directions before you leave for your destinations and turn on the voice commands so you can hear and not have to physically look at the map. That’s important because if you look down, even if you look down for 5 seconds, at 55 miles per hour, you’ve covered more than a football field and that’s like driving blindfolded. We don’t want anybody to do that,” Indiana State Police Sergeant John Perrine said.

Even hands-free phone use increases a drivers’ risk of crashing two to four times, according to AAA.

And if you are able to avoid your phone, state police say there are other distractions to worry about too.

“These cars come with incredible technology now and the technology in your car can be such a distraction, make sure you’re not using that while you’re driving. And don’t let your passengers distract you, a lot of times that can be easily, conversations, something happening, videos their watching on their phone can draw your attention and create a deadly situation,” Sgt. Perrine said.

As for Indiana drivers specifically, the state ranks right in the middle at 27th for distracted driving. According to the research, Hoosiers spend about five percent of their time behind the wheel looking at their phones.

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