Florida comes in at No. 20 in distracted driving study
No more excuses; it’s time to stop texting and driving.

texting driving

Florida is the 20th most distracted state according to a nationwide driver safety study released by driver safety company Zendrive Monday.

The study took in data from 3.1 million drivers over 5.6 million miles of driving and found that nationwide drivers spent an average of 3.5 minute an hour using their phone or other device.

Only 12 percent of road trips tracked in the study featured no phone use.

Floridians came in slightly under that average with about 5 percent of drive time – or 3 minutes an hour – spent using a device, despite their being no statewide ban on handheld device use on the road.

On the local level, Miami was the third most distracted city in the country, with drivers spending about 5.2 percent of their time on the phone. The only major metros coming in higher were Los Angeles, which is under a statewide ban on phone use, and Austin, TX, which is not.

Traffic deaths are on the rise after a decade of decline and Zendrive points to a study from the National Safety Institute that estimates more than 40,000 traffic deaths last year were preventable.

The company said tracking phone use and getting an accurate reading on its effect on drivers presents some challenges, such as the lack of a “phone use” check box on most forms police use to report crashes.

“Standard fields include factors such as unsafe speed, failure to yield and a generic ‘driver distraction/inattention,’ which could be used to report anything from changing the radio station to eating to a driver’s statement of ‘I just didn’t see her,’” the report said.

Zendrive, however, uses technology built into smartphones to measure driving, so by virtue of running on a smartphone, the company can measure phone use while driving.

The study is based on driver data collected through the app between December 2016 and February 2017. The data set includes more than 570 million trips and detects phone use when a driver handles a phone for a certain amount of time.

For privacy reasons, the company did not differentiate between talking, texting and the use of apps in the study.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


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