KBB Study: Drivers still multi-task while driving despite risks

 KBB.com Brand Ambassador and Professional Football Player Todd Gurley, NASCAR Driver Chase Elliott Join in 

#DriveSmart Distracted Driving Awareness Campaign

 

IRVINE, Calif., April 14, 2016 – Distracted driving is defined as any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. While nearly every state in the U.S., as well as Washington D.C., has laws prohibiting the use of mobile phones while driving, a new survey by Kelley Blue Book reveals that 61 percent of drivers continue to multi-task from behind the wheel.

The 2016 Kelley Blue Book Distracted Driving Awareness survey, released today by KBB.com, the vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry, is part of the company’s #DriveSmart Distracted Driving Awareness campaign, launched during Distracted Driving Month. The national survey reveals that nearly half (47 percent) of respondents have used their phone while driving on roads or residential streets, 40 percent have used their phones while cruising the highway and 86 percent have used their phone while at a stop light or in heavy traffic. Talking on the phone and using the navigation system were the highest rated activities reported with 78 percent and 71 percent, respectively. Texting came in third with 67 percent, followed by using music apps (47 percent) and using social media (31 percent).

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 25 percent of all crashes involve some form of driver distraction, and drivers under the age of 20 have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes. In fact, nearly three quarters of survey respondents (71 percent) believe that cell phone usage is the biggest threat facing today’s teen drivers, with drinking and driving (18 percent) and reckless driving (10 percent) rating as a distant second and third, respectively.

According to Distraction.gov, the average time a driver takes their eyes off the road while texting is five seconds. When traveling at 55 mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded. Millennial drivers report the highest rates of texting (74 percent) and checking social media sites (36 percent) while driving. However, young people are not the only drivers reaching for their phones. The survey reveals that Baby Boomers lead the pack, reporting the highest rate overall of talking on the phone while driving (87 percent), followed by Gen X (83 percent) and Millenials (76 percent).

“We all know that texting while driving is a serious distraction, but it isn’t the only reason drivers are taking their eyes off the road,” said Jack Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “With the increase of in-car technology, there are more distractions vying for a driver’s attention. Whether it is in-dash navigation, music apps or voice command call or text, more and more drivers are multi-tasking behind the wheel as opposed to focusing on the road.”

Take the Pledge: “One Text or Call Could Wreck It All”

In addition to conducting the nationwide survey, Kelley Blue Book, along with NHTSA and The Conor Lynch Foundation, will host a student assembly at Inglewood High School in Los Angeles on April 21, 2016, to educate students on the dangers of distracted driving. Professional football player Todd Gurley and local officials will be on hand to bring attention to the issue. At the assembly, the students will be directed to take the “One Text or Call Could Wreck it All” pledge at Distraction.gov.

“Texting behind the wheel is dangerous, deadly and completely preventable.  Help make our roads safe for everyone and save it for when you’re not in the driver seat,” said Chris Murphy, regional administrator for NHTSA. “Working with our safety partners and organizations like Kelley Blue Book, we’re calling on drivers to take the pledge and put their phones down.  Our focus is to drive positive behavior change and encourage safe driving habits.”

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 24 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports, also has joined the campaign by creating a digital PSA that was released earlier today to help spread the message about the dangers of distracted driving. Elliott, a champion NASCAR driver who himself is only 20 years old, is uniquely qualified to share the importance of giving your full attention to driving, helping to ensure everyone’s safety by reminding people to just drive.

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