With the upcoming holiday weekend on the horizon, many drivers will be heading to the beach, camp sites, cookouts and other activities. But how many are trying to multi-task as they drive? Some recently released data from Lytx, a leader in video-based driver safety technology, shows that eating and drinking behind the wheel are nearly as dangerous as any cell phone distractions.
“I see people eating while driving almost every day,” said Del Lisk, vice president of Safety Services for Lytx. “What we’ve learned is that this type of distraction is nearly as dangerous as talking or texting on your cell phone. We know that distracted driving is a significant factor in vehicle collisions, and our predictive analytics show that distractions such as eating and drinking or smartphones and tablets are among the leading causes of collisions.”
According to data from Lytx:
- Drivers with food and drink distractions are 3.6 times more likely to be involved in a collision than those who are not eating or drinking.
- While hands-free devices reduce the incidence of collisions, drivers who use them are still 4.6 times more likely to be involved in a collision than those who don’t use a phone at all while driving.
- Drivers distracted by a smartphone or tablet are 4.7 times more likely to be in a collision than drivers who don’t use those devices while driving.
Other behaviors behind the wheel also increase the risk of an accident. “There are a range of normal behaviors that can increase a driver’s accident risk, many of which most drivers are unaware of,” said Lisk. “These behaviors include seemingly innocent tasks such as changing radio stations or adjusting a GPS. Also, a common behavior that drives collisions is staring too long at external objects, including billboards or even the person sitting next to you in the car.” Other distractions include putting on make-up, shaving, smoking, and looking for items in a glove box or purse.
While Lytx doesn’t track the ages of commercial drivers, their teen program does track age and has found a clear delineation between a new 16-year-old driver and a 17-year-old driver vs. a more experienced 18-year-old driver.
The company’s DriveCam program has been found to reduce collision costs by up to 80% because it allows insurers to offer best practices and technology solutions that help reduce risk and collision costs.
Technology can only help so much. Smart drivers will still need to reduce their risk by limiting distractions and keeping their eyes on the road, an approach that will make all insurers happy.