Are drivers lost in space?
A study by the Erie Insurance company of the roughly 6,500 fatal accidents that occurred in 2010 and 2011 which involved distracted driving found that it wasn’t cell phones and texting that were mostly to blame, but simple daydreaming.
According to police reports of the incidents, 62 percent of the accidents involved one or more drivers that were “lost in thought,” compared to just 12 percent who were using a phone to text or make a call.
Things happening outside the vehicle, interactions with other passengers and fiddling with devices brought into the car round out the top five distractions in the report, which was conducted with the assistance of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The use of built-in accessories, including stereos and navigation systems, animals in the vehicle and smoking each were cited in just one percent of incidents.
Erie cautions that the data is based on the word of the persons involved and the judgment of the officers at the scenes of the accidents, but given the legal nature of the reports makes it a meaningful complement to self-reported surveys on distracted driving.