A recent study by Zendrive analyzed 160 billion miles worth of driver data for an entire year, and what they found was that drunk drivers aren’t the biggest category of threat on the road anymore. It’s Phone Addicts.

Last year alone, 6,227 pedestrians lots their lives to the hands of drivers on their phones. Compared to a 2018 study, the amount of Phone Addicts has doubled, and nationally, drivers are 10 percent more distracted than they were last year. Here’s a glimpse into how they operate:

Stats of a Phone Addict:
• Spend 3x more drive time actively using their phones
• Actively ignore the road 28% of the time they’re driving
• Are on the road 1.5x more times than the general population
• Are more of a public danger than drunk drivers

A survey to understand what drives this Phone Addict behavior concluded that distracted drivers are aware of the increasing epidemic of distracted driving fatalities, but the bigger concern is that they don’t seem to care enough to change their behavior. An over-confident society meshed with hyper-connectivity is a dangerous GPS for the road.

In 2006, before cellphones were even at their peak of capability, a study by the University of Utah determined that drivers using their smartphone showed greater impairment than intoxicated drivers. What’s even more unsettling about this is that the highest number of drunk drivers are on the roads between midnight and 3am, with fatalities from it four times higher at night than during the day. Phone Addicts are on the road at EVERY hour of the day, which makes the number of people along with timing a bigger danger than drunk drivers.

So what can we do?

Let’s face it, cellphones aren’t going away anytime soon, but traffic fatalities from it can. Zendrive is committed to keeping the road “zen” and has asked people to pledge to the #textyoulater challenge by asking cellphone users to setup their driver autoresponders (through “Do Not Disturb While Driving” mode on iOS devices, and through “Android Auto” on Android devices), take a screenshot, then tweet their pledge while tagging their friends to do the same. Autoresponders can make the road safer by reducing distractions from incoming texts and calls.

In a way, we all can say we’ve contributed this problem in some degree, but that also means we all can contribute to its demise. And our part in it is very simple: Just drive.