Distracted driving makes Atlanta’s roads the most dangerous in the country
Distracted driving is a bigger issue in Atlanta than in any other city in America. According to a new study by Life360, the leading location sharing app that protects and connects families, the most distracted drivers in the country travel Atlanta’s roads on a daily basis.
Atlanta tops the list for the distracted driving
For the new distracted driving study, Life360 leveraged more than 84 billion miles of driving data in a national sample of app users across the country. The analysis revealed that distracted driving is more prevalent in the East – with Atlanta topping the list.
The study also found evening rush hour driving is more distracting than morning commutes. Plus, for the second year in a row, there’s very little gap between teen and adult distracted drivers.
Cities with the most distracted drivers:
- Atlanta, GA
- Washington, DC
- Baltimore, MD
- Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
- Houston, TX
Cities with the least distracted drivers:
- San Diego, CA
- San Francisco, CA
- Seattle, WA
- Los Angeles, CA
- Phoenix, AZ
The report found that distracted drivers are 21 times more likely to speed, 12 times more likely to rapidly accelerate and seven times more likely to hard brake. In other revealing trends:
- Drivers on their morning commute (6am – 8am) are less prone to distracted driving than they are during the afternoon, when they are twice as likely to use their phones.
- Most speeding occurs Sunday afternoons (3pm – 6pm).
- The worst time for bad driving behaviors, including hard braking and rapid acceleration, occurs in the middle of the night (between 3am – 4am) on Saturdays and Sundays.
- Teens and parents are almost equal when it comes to distracted driving phone use. Distracted teen drivers interact with their smartphones 9 times in 100 miles. For adults, it’s 8 times in 100 miles.
To read about the new study, click here.
Distracted driving and Life360
Life360 is the world’s leading location and driving safety service for families available for Android and iPhone in a convenient and secure mobile app.
A leader in family tech, Life360 gives families peace of mind when they are not together. As the largest source of family driving data in the world, Life360 provides safety insights around driving behavior to better protect family members on the go via location sharing, day-to-day communications, driver updates, emergency response features, and more.
For more information, visit www.life360.com.
Distracted driving: The cold, hard facts
A different study by Cambridge Mobile Telematics found that the majority of recent car crashes resulted from phone distraction. A few shocking findings from the study include:
- Distracted driving occurred during 52% of trips that resulted in a crash.
- On drives that involved a crash, the average duration of distraction was 135 seconds.
- Distracted driving often occurs at high speeds: 29% at speeds exceeding 56 miles per hour.
- 11 teens die every day as a result from distracted driving
Distracted Driving and teens
Cell phones and driving are a dangerous and often fatal combination. It’s a problem for everyone, but especially for new and inexperienced teen drivers. So, how can you convince your own teen to hang up, stop texting and just drive?
Car crashes is still the number one cause of death for teens from the age of 16 – 19. When you mix in distracted driving, your teen driver’s chance of having a serious or fatal auto accident increases by four times.
Distracted driving + your teen driver
Yes, it’s absolutely true that cell phones and driving do not mix well for any age group. However, it’s most dangerous for teen drivers. Why? Because they are inexperienced. New drivers don’t always know what to do in particular driving situations. In fact, it takes a full five years to become an experienced driver.
According to AAA, 46 percent of all teen drivers admit to text messaging while driving, and that says nothing of the teens who won’t own up to the practice. 51 percent admit to talking on the cell phone while driving. Unfortunately, both practices are quite dangerous, especially for young and inexperienced drivers.
Georgia’s law on cell phones and driving
A new cell phone law in Georgia went into effect last summer to help combat distracted driving. It requires drivers to use hands-free technology when using cell phones and other electronic devices while driving.
The following are prohibited under the Georgia cell phone law:
- Holding or supporting, with any part of the body, a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device (for example, an iPod).
- Writing, sending or reading any text-based communication, including a text message, instant message, e-mail or internet data while holding your device.
- Watching a video or movie other than watching data related to the navigation of your vehicle (i.e., your mapping app or GPS screen).
- Recording a video
The Georgia cell phone law allows:
- Speaking or texting while using hands-free technology
- Using a GPS system or mapping app
- Using an earpiece to talk on the phone
- Wearing and using a smart watch
- Reporting a traffic accident, medical emergency, fire, a crime or delinquent act or a hazardous road condition
- Drivers can use their phones while “lawfully parked,” which does not include momentary stops at red lights and stop signs.
Don’t be lulled into the false security of hands-free technology
While the new law is certainly helps with the distracted driving issue, don’t be lulled into the false security of hands-free technology. Three out of four drivers believe that it is safe to use. Most may be surprised to learn that these popular new vehicle features may actually increase mental distraction. When it comes to cell phones and driving, the best solution is to turn them off or put them in the glove box while driving.
A study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety proves dangerous mental distractions exist even when drivers keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.
For the study, drivers engaged in common tasks, from listening to an audio book or talking on the phone to listening and responding to voice-activated emails while behind the wheel. Researchers used the results to rate the levels of mental distraction drivers experienced while performing each of the tasks. Similar to the Saffir-Simpson scale used for hurricanes, the levels of mental distraction are represented on a scale:
- Tasks such as listening to the radio ranked as a category “1” level of distraction or a minimal risk.
- Talking on a cell-phone, both handheld and hands-free, resulted in a “2” or a moderate risk.
- Listening and responding to in-vehicle, voice-activated email features increased mental workload and distraction levels of the drivers to a “3” rating or one of extensive risk.
So, while hands-free technology may reduce crash risk, it doesn’t eliminate it. In fact, it’s still considered distracted driving and may jeopardize your teen driver’s life.
Set guidelines to combat distracted driving
Before your teen grabs the keys, make sure you have guidelines in place to deal with distracted driving. Sit down with your teen to set rules and consequences.
You can’t always watch your teen, but you can definitely let trusted friends and relatives know that you would like to be notified if they spot your child using his phone to talk or text message while driving.
If your parenting style is a little more James Bond than that, you could even go so far as to match up your teen’s usual driving times with cell phone call and text message records. If your teen is a habitual offender, you’ll know pretty quickly.
Advice to avoid the dangers of distracted driving
Remind your teen driver that handheld cell phones and driving is unlawful under the new Georgia distracted driving law.
Set a good example! Do you talk and text on your cell phone while driving? If you do, you’re doing a terrible disservice to your teen driver.
When you pick up the cell phone to make a call as you drive down a deserted stretch of interstate, your teen isn’t thinking, “Well, this is a relatively low-risk driving situation and Mom has a lot more driving experience than me.” He’s thinking, “I guess it’s okay to talk on the phone if you’re a good driver, and I’m getting pretty good…”
No matter how hard it is, you need to resist the temptation to use your cell phone while driving if you want your teen believe it’s a rule worth following. Set the example!
CLICK HERE get our free newsletter and teen driving tips for parents!
- How to pick the best driving school for your teen driver
- How to get a Georgia Driver’s License in 4 easy steps
- Tips to help your teen get the best experience from Driver’s Ed
- What to expect when a teen begins in-car driving lessons