April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. It doesn’t come a moment too soon: A troubling new study has found that a terrifyingly high amount of drivers still use their phones behind the wheel.
Despite the proliferation of apps and devices aimed at preventing phone usage while driving, the study—by driver analytics company, Zendrive—revealed that drivers in America use their mobile devices during 88 out of 100 car trips.
That’s A LOT.
In what Zendrive calls the largest behavior study on distracted driving, the company analyzed three million anonymous drivers for three months, reviewing 570 million car trips taken between Dec. 2016 and Feb. 2017, covering 5.6 billion miles.
Not only did drivers use their phones during 88 percent of the 570 million trips, but also, during hour-long drives, those behind the wheel spent an average of 3.5 minutes using their phones. That’s especially worrisome considering that life-altering damage can be done in a matter of seconds.
Whether you’re talking on speaker phone, texting, or taking selfies, any distraction, no matter how long, constitutes distracted driving. Past studies from researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute have shown that dialing a phone could increase a drivers’ chance of crashing by 12 times. Simply reaching for your mobile device raises the risk of crashing by almost five times.
Zendrive also broke down driver behavior by location to determine the top five states for distracted driving: Vermont, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Arkansas.
Since traffic deaths saw a spike in 2016, this study is yet another call to action, reminding drivers that accidents caused by distractions can be prevented by simply putting down the phone. You can look at it all you want when you’re not behind the wheel.