‘Careless’ category hides true distracted driving numbers

‘Careless’ category hides true distracted driving numbers | Insurance Business

‘Careless’ category hides true distracted driving numbers
Charges and convictions for distracted driving are only scratching the surface, says broker, as they are likely hidden within the category of careless driving.

“Texting and driving probably is worse than the numbers show, because there just isn’t a great mechanism available to track that,” says Sean Graham, vice president, Kanetix Ltd. and principal broker at KTX Insurance Brokers. “It is really hard to track to see realistically how many of these accidents are being caused by distracted driving, because a lot of these accidents are actually coded as ‘careless driving’ convictions; whereas, if someone is drunk driving and causes an accident, they will get a drunk-driving conviction.”

Graham admits he can’t point to empirical numbers that have been scientifically gathered, but he does offer anecdotal evidence from his own brokerage.

“We see people coming in with DUIs (impaired driving), and we’ll see it show up as a DUI conviction on their driving record,” Graham told Insurance Business. “We’ll also see clients come in with – the conviction is called ‘prohibited use for a handheld device’ – your typical texting/cell phone violation.  But we’ve seen a lot of accidents come through where the person is convicted for careless driving.”

And it those careless driving convictions from the accidents that are hiding the distracted driving numbers, says Graham – but there’s no hard evidence to prove it.

“There’s not a great way to measure that (distracted driving),” he says, “and it is not coded that way, by the police or the government on the motor vehicle record.”

A 2011 Leger Marketing consumer survey conducted for Kanetix showed 18% of drivers admitted to texting and talking while driving. Today, with the explosion of tablets and smart phones, those numbers have probably doubled, says Graham.

“Conservatively, I’d say that 18% is more like 35 or 36% today,” he says.

The survey sampled 1,300 drivers, asking what their bad habits were behind the wheel. The worst offenders were the hungriest and the thirstiest, with 39% admitting to consuming food or beverages while driving.

“The next worst were 36% who admitted to speeding, followed by 18% who said they were texting and talking while driving,” says Graham. “And texting and talking has been increasing since then.”

Some of the key findings from the survey include:
Consuming food or beverages while driving……39%
Speeding …………………………………………36%
Talking/Texting on my cell while driving……….18%
Following too closely…………………………….16%
Road rage…………………………………….…..11%
Failing to signal……………………………….…10%
Weaving in and out of traffic………………….….7%
Applying makeup while driving…………………..3%
Parking illegally…………………………………...3%
Parking in handicap spaces………………….....2%
Driving in the carpool lane…………………….....1%

Are there any perfect drivers out there?  According to the survey, almost one in five; as 19 per cent described themselves as being ‘a perfect driver.’