Impact of Non-Technology-Based Behaviors on Driving Safety

Although the vast majority of drivers (81%) converse with passengers while driving, only 10% of drivers believe that this activity distracts drivers and makes their driving more dangerous. Similarly, while half of all drivers eat or drink while driving, just 31% feel that such behavior distracts drivers enough to make driving more dangerous. [Figure 10-A]

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of drivers believe that dealing with children in the back seat makes driving more dangerous, with the majority of these (40% overall) seeing it as making driving much more dangerous.

While fewer drivers report engaging in other distracting behaviors while driving, such as reading printed materials (4%), looking at maps or directions (12%), or personal grooming (8%) these behaviors are perceived to make driving much more dangerous than the other activities more commonly engaged in. Eight out of ten drivers feel that looking at a map or directions (79%) or personal grooming (81%) makes driving more dangerous, with a majority feeling that these behaviors makes driving much more dangerous.

Drivers perceive reading printed materials (such as a book, newspapers, mail, or notes) while driving as most distracting, with 80% feeling this behavior makes driving much more dangerous and an additional 12% seeing it as somewhat distracting.

By Gender

While there are no differences in the perceptions of the impact of eating/drinking or personal grooming between male and female drivers, females are slightly more likely than males to feel that the talking with other passengers (12% vs. 9% of males) and looking at maps or directions (81% vs. 77%) make driving more dangerous. Female drivers are especially more likely to see dealing with children in the back seat as dangerous (69% vs. 61% of males). [Figure 10-B]

By Age

Younger drivers are generally less likely to feel that the behaviors make driving more dangerous, with perceptions of behaviors being distracting increasing with age. Drivers age 64 and older are twice as likely to feel that eating or drinking (57% compared to about one in four younger drivers) and talking with others (20% as compared to about 10% of others) make driving more dangerous. [Figure 10-C]