Motorists are more worried about distracted drivers than drunk drivers.

But then again, we’re just as guilty.

A recent survey of ~1,800 adult American drivers conducted by Wakefield Research has found that the top safety concern they have is distracted drivers on the road – a factor cited by ~70% of the respondents.

This far outstrips concerns about people driving under the influence of alcohol or other stimulants – a concern that was cited by just ~45% of the respondents.

But in a classic example of “do as I say, not as I do,” a clear majority of the survey respondents (~58%) reported that they check their own mobile devices when driving.  Perhaps we believe that our own skills are far above those of the average driver …

This squares with the findings of another survey conducted recently by analytics firm Zendrive. That research found that 85% of drivers feel that distracted driving is a problem.  Despite those concerns, nearly half of the Zendrive survey respondents (~47%) admit that they themselves use their phones 10% or more of the time when driving.

Phone usage seems pretty high overall, with nearly 6 in 10 reporting that they talk on the phone while driving, half use maps or other navigation tools, and nearly 4 in 10 text. Let’s take these results at face value … but I wonder if the actual behaviors are even more slanted towards mobile phone usage than the stats suggest.

We can at least give credit to the respondents for acknowledging that what they’re doing isn’t particularly kosher, since ~83% of them admitted that they put down their phones when they see law enforcement on the road.

And here’s one other finding that I found particularly interesting: nearly 40% of the survey respondents reported that their own children have asked them to stop using their phone while driving.

Talk about parent-shaming – and the parents admit it!

More findings from the Wakefield research can be viewed here.

Do you find these findings surprising, or about as you expected? Please share your thoughts and observations with other readers here.

One thought on “Motorists are more worried about distracted drivers than drunk drivers.

  1. Par of the problem is that automobiles, like phones, are no longer mechanically intuitive the way they once were. They are over-engineered. I drive a lot of rented cars, and they themselves are the distraction. You don’t just keep your eyes on the road and reach over to tune the radio with a knob. You have to look at a screen on the console and hope to peck at it for the desired result.

    Lots of luck with that. It takes time. And some of the steering column stalks are so complex, you may need three tries to get the lights or the windshield wipers to come on properly. There are so many dashboard indicators, too, with strange icons and warning lights, that you may never figure out what they are meaning to tell you.

    No wonder car makers are now trying to auto-pilot the blind spot and compensate for one’s tendency to swerve out of lane.

    It isn’t too much of a stretch to contend that cars are becoming as difficult to operate as jetliners. Boeing 737 Max, anyone??

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