Laura Adams knows as much as about distracted driving as anyone. But her knowledge isn’t from experiences as a driver or passenger. She’s as an analyst who studies statistics and is shocked at what the numbers reveal.
Adams, based in Austin, Texas, works for DriversEd.com. The online driving school and driving safety resource headquartered in Oakland recently released the results of its inaugural initiative detailing drivers’ habits.
Bruce Aldrich and James Raia interview Laura in the week’s episode of The Weekly Driver Podcast.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving “Is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system. It’s anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.”
DriversEd.com’s survey analyzed the results more than 1,400 survey respondents and detailed the behavior of drivers — from texting to drinking to YouTube to Snapchat viewing to using marijuana.
The results showed 73 percent of drivers admit to reading text messages driving and 54 percent admit to typing text messages while driving. About 39 percent of drivers said that while driving, they check and use their phone more often than they probably should.
“Some of what’s going on behind the wheel is old-fashioned,” said Adams. “But some of it is related to technology. The big takeaway for me is texting. We know people are texting. We see it all the time. Maybe we’re even doing it.
“But the numbers are pretty high and when we asked people if they thought they were using their phones more than they should and 39 percent said yes but they haven’t changed their behaviors.”
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Article Last Updated: October 29, 2018.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.