American Drivers Are Now Even More Distracted By Their Phones

Distracted Driving Cell Phone Use | Dr. John Lloyd | Motorcycle Crash,  Biomechanics, Human Factors Expert

Excellent article by journalist Marin Cogan reports that In the last few years, the data on distracted driving has shown disturbing trends. During the pandemic, American drivers got even more distracted by their phones while driving. The amount of distracted driving hasn’t receded, even as life has mostly stabilized.


Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT) Found that both phone motion and screen interaction while driving went up roughly 20 percent between 2020-2022. “By almost every metric CMT measures, distracted driving is more present than ever on US roadways. Drivers are spending more time using their phones while driving and doing it on more trips. Drivers interacted with their phones on nearly 58% of trips in 2022,” a recent report by the company concludes. Additionally, ore than a third of that phone motion distraction happens at over 50 mph.

We’re also spending nearly three times more time distracted by our phones than drivers in the United Kingdom and several other European countries. US drivers spent an average of 2 minutes 11 seconds on their phones per hour while driving, compared to 44 seconds per hour for UK drivers, CMT found.

The company compared the driving behaviors of US and European drivers because road fatalities in the United States surged during the pandemic and European fatalities did not. In 2020, 38,824 people died on US roads. In 2021, that number rose to 42,915 people, and the highest number of pedestrians were killed in 40 years. In 2022, the overall deaths stayed high, around 42,795, among them 7,508 pedestrians. The report also notes how the rise of smartphone use roughly corresponds to the rise in pedestrian fatalities: About 4,600 people were killed while walking in 2007, the year the iPhone was introduced. By 2021, with 85 percent of Americans owning smartphones, the number rose to 7,485.