Drivers Confess To Bad Behavior, Study Finds


Hey man, it's not worth it. Put your phone down.
Chevrolet’s Call Me Out app helps remind drivers to keep their hands off their phones and eyes on the road through audible messages from friends and family. Credit: Photo by Rob Widdis for Chevrolet.
If you’ve seen people texting while driving or engaged in other distracted driving behaviors you’re not alone. In a recent Insurance.com survey, 87 percent of drivers who responded said distracted driving is a serious worse today than two years ago. And many admit to driving distracted themselves, be it texting, dealing with navigation,and even taking selfies.

Distracted Driving Survey

The survey asked 1,000 drivers about the types of distracted behavior they engage in, their opinion on its severity and whether they admit to rude or dangerous driving maneuvers. The survey found that 87% said distracted driving is worse now than it was two years ago. 75% said distracted driving has become at least a 50% bigger problem compared to two years ago.

Insurance.com shares survey results in this report: Distracted, Discourteous and Dangerous Driving. Findings include:

What most often distracts drivers ranked by most bothersome:

  • 24% Texting
  • 20% Navigation systems
  • 16% Children in the car
  • 11% Talking on the phone
  • 11% Adjusting music
  • 8% Adjusting climate controls
  • 5% Eating

Men say texting is their biggest driver distraction, while women report their largest distraction is navigation systems. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Texting -- 19% women; 29% men
  • Navigation -- 25% women; 16% men
  • Kids yelling in the back/dealing with kids -- 19% women; 14% men
  • Talking on phone -- 9% women; 13% men
  • Adjusting music -- 10% women; 11% men
  • Adjusting heater/AC knobs -- 9% women; 8% men
  • Eating while driving -- 4% women; 6% men


According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, 2,841 people were killed in distracted driving crashes in 2018. That’s 7.8% of traffic deaths recorded that year.

Texting and Driving

42-percent of those surveyed by Insurance.com admit to texting and driving, something 92% of people agreed was just as dangerous as drinking and driving.

  • Frequency of texting while driving

    • 50% Only a few times ever
    • 14% about three or four times a year
    • 13% about three or four times a month
    • 12% about three or four times a week
    • 11% Daily

When it comes to reasons for texting, Insurance.com says that one-third of respondents say they text while driving to tell a family member something important. One-quarter say they do it to respond to someone. 19 percent say they need to tell someone when they’ll get to their destination and 11 percent said they text while driving for work reasons. Five percent said they texted because of a change of plans, while 4% said they texted to say hello or because they were bored.

In the survey, eight percent said they’ve been involved in an accident while texting. Twice as many men (11%) said texting resulted in an accident compared to women (5%).

Taking Photos

We also don’t need to tell you this is a bad idea. The survey found that a lot of drivers snap pics with their smartphones while on the road - be it to take scenic shots or take a selfie. However, on the bright side, 89% of respondents said they’ve never done the latter.

  • Why and how often drivers take photos or selfies

    • 46% take photos of majestic views
    • 38% photograph the weather
    • 35% take selfies because they look especially great on a given day
    • 20% to photograph an accident they weren’t involved in
    • 19% to document a bizarre driving event (traffic, reckless driving)
    • 18% to share a funny thought or social commentary on Facebook or social media
    • 18% They just felt like it
    • 17% to photograph family and friends in the car
    • 12% to document behavior of law enforcement

Rude Behavior

We’ve talked about the road rage before and it can come in many forms. Here are some of the rude behaviors respondents confessed to in the study:

  • Confessions on rude behavior

    • 34% Honking at a slow-moving driver
    • 32% "Brake-checking" a car following closely
    • 32% Admit making obscene gestures at others while driving

Distracted Driving and Insurance Costs

If you drive distracted you not only risk your life and the lives of those around you on the road, but you also risk getting expensive tickets and higher insurance rates.

"Accidents and injuries are the main concerns with distracted driving," notes Les Masterson, Insurance.com managing editor. "But drivers also risk significant penalties in the form of tickets, auto body repairs and higher auto insurance rates. Distracted driving tickets increase auto insurance rates by 22% on average, texting tickets hike rates by 23% and one at-fault accident can increase premiums by 32%."

Out of those who responded, eighteen percent said they’ve received a texting while driving ticket or another form of distracted driving ticket. Twice as many men (24%) were ticketed than women (12%) even though women admit to texting more.

For more survey findings, check out the study here.
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