GEICO asks: Just how distracted are distracted drivers?

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 30, 2019 – As Distracted Driving Awareness Month 2019 draws to a close, GEICO urges drivers to learn the risks associated with distracted driving.

How much is distracted driving affecting roadways?

How much more likely is it for a crash to occur if drivers are interacting with a smartphone?

Drivers who use a handheld phone increase their risk of crashing by two to three times compared to a sober, alert driver according to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Prior to putting the car in gear, drivers should consider silencing their phones, turning on the 'do not disturb function' or placing them out of reach altogether in the car.

How many drivers utilize 'do not disturb while driving' mode?

Looking at drivers who had iPhones specifically, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that only one in five had Apple's 'do not disturb while driving' mode activated.

Around 10 percent of fatal crashes resulted from distracted driving—why do researchers think this is a low estimate?

  • At the scene of a crash, distraction is very hard to prove unless a driver freely admits to diverting his/her attention. According to IIHS many more fatal crashes may have resulted from distracted driving; however, distraction was not noted as the cause.

Is it fair to only blame smartphones for issues related to distracted driving?

  • Smartphones are only one piece of the problem. In a new observational study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a large percentage of drivers were seen partaking in other distracting behaviors such as eating/drinking, interacting with passengers, wearing headphones and reaching for items in the vehicle.

To avoid becoming a statistic, GEICO urges drivers to switch their phones to 'do not disturb' mode, leave their GPS' alone, plan their meals outside of driving times and set playlists in advance.

For more distracted driving tips, visit GEICO's Smartdogs Distracted Driving resources page.

GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company), the second-largest auto insurer in the U.S., was founded in 1936 and insures more than 28 million vehicles in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. A member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies, GEICO employs more than 43,000 associates countrywide. GEICO constantly strives to make lives better by protecting people against unexpected events while saving them money and providing an outstanding customer experience. Along with personal auto insurance, commercial auto and personal umbrella coverages are also available. Homeowners, renters, condo, flood, identity theft, term life, and more coverages are written through non-affiliated insurance companies and are secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc. Visit geico.com for a quote or to learn more.