Mobile phones are biggest cause of driver distraction, research from SmartDrive finds

Distracted driving

Mobile phone use continues to be the biggest cause of distracted driving in truck fleets, research from SmartDrive Systems has shown.

Analysis from information recorded on its video-based platform has demonstrated that the most distracted drivers are less safe overall, commit significantly more fundamental driving errors and drive faster than the speed limit compared to all other drivers.

Aidan Rowsome, vice-president EMEA of SmartDrive, said: “Distracted driving costs the United Kingdom billions of pounds a year.

"It continues to be one of the most serious risks facing our industry.

“While everyone understands distracted driving as a problem, very few have an objective measurement of the risk.

"To solve the problem, fleets need to understand distraction risks and eliminate them from their fleet. Video safety is the only objective measurement. SmartDrive applauds fleets who take the necessary steps to protect their drivers and other road users.”

SmartDrive says analysis of in-cab video and observation data gathered over 14.5 billion driving miles show that distracted drivers are more likely than all other drivers to have a near collision, to not stop at a junction and to exceed the speed limit.

For fleets, this increases the risk of collisions and the costs associated when one occurs. Additionally, the SmartDrive SmartIQ Snapshot confirms the widely held assumption that mobile devices are the predominant cause of distracted driving.

Slaven Sljivar, vice-president of analytics, SmartDrive, said: “It’s evident that mobile device usage and a host of other distractions can seriously impair the driver’s ability to safely operate the vehicle and should not be ignored.

“Seatbelt compliance is one key indicator of a driver’s propensity towards risk. Distracted drivers don’t wear their seatbelt at a rate that is significantly higher than other drivers – which signals to a fleet the potential for future issues with that driver.

"Distraction impacts more than safety costs. In fact, distracted drivers consistently waste the most fuel - which is a direct hit to a fleet’s bottom line.”

Conclusions from the SmartDrive Distracted Driving Snapshot include:

  • Collision drivers have higher distraction rates than non-collision drivers in all categories of distractions.
  • The most distracted drivers are 36% more likely to be involved in a near collision than all other drivers. This number jumps to 88% for drivers most distracted by a mobile device.
  • Whether involving a traffic light or stop/give way sign, junctions are a particular problem for distracted drivers. For example, the most distracted drivers are 84% more likely to pass a stop/give way sign or red light. Drivers most distracted by a mobile device are 2.5 times more likely to do the same.
  • Distracted drivers have a higher propensity to speed. Overall, the most distracted drivers are 87% more likely to drive 10mph or more over the speed limit, but if they’re distracted by a mobile device, they are three times more likely than other drivers to exceed the speed limit by at least 10mph or more.
  • The most distracted drivers drift out of their lane almost twice as often as all other drivers. This number jumps to 2.3 times more than all other drivers for those most distracted by a mobile device.
  • By analysing in-cab video, we know that a driver who is often distracted is more likely to not wear his/her seatbelt. In fact, the most distracted drivers are 4.1 times more likely to not wear a seatbelt.
  • Distracted driving is not only about safety. It also adds to operational waste within a fleet. The most distracted drivers incur 6% less fuel economy while on the road; this number increases to more than 8% when distracted by a mobile device.

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  • John4870 - 28/04/2017 11:30

    Driving habits vary significantly from one country to another. Is this research based primarily on 14.5 billion miles of driving in USA?

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    • Penny (SmartDrive UK) - 28/04/2017 11:46

      It's amalgamated from global data John4870, including UK and is definitely in line with what we see here in terms of driving habits.

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