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Data reveals distracted driving increases by 7.5% on Father’s Day

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As families fire up the grill and gather to celebrate Dad, distracted driving ignites road risk on Father’s Day, making it the fifth most distracted day of the year, according to Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT).

CMT has found that distraction increases on Father’s Day by 7.5% when drivers spend 2 minutes and 24 seconds per hour interacting with their phone screens while driving which is a 10-second per hour increase in distraction from the surrounding days. CMT defines screen interaction as a driver tapping, scrolling, or typing on their phone screen while traveling over 9 mph.

“The effects of increased distracted driving on Father’s Day are serious,” a CMT news release states. “CMT estimates the 7.5% increase in distracted driving has contributed to around 1,000 additional crashes, 570 injuries, five fatalities, and $40.3 million in economic damage.

“Understanding the holidays with elevated road risk helps us all be more vigilant so we can all travel safer. Whether heading to the golf course or a family BBQ, let’s prioritize road safety to ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday for everyone.”

Screen interaction is highest during the morning of the holiday, according to CMT.

Last year, distracted driving escalated throughout the morning from 7-9 on Father’s Day compared to other Sundays in June and July. The rise in screen interaction started early, with a 5.9% difference at 7 a.m., climbed to 9.6% at 8 a.m., and peaked at 9 a.m., reaching 10%.

This marks an 18-second-per-hour increase in screen interactions compared to the average Sunday.

While screen time behind the wheel surges in the early morning on Father’s Day, it remains high until 8 pm.

Other higher distracted driving holidays include Mother’s Day, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, according to CMT.

CMT sees similar distraction trends on Father’s Day and Mother’s Day. People use their phones while getting their family ready to spend the day with their parents, CMT said, however, Father’s Day occurs during the summer months — a time with higher levels of distracted driving overall.

In 2022, Father’s Day ranked alongside Mother’s Day as the second most distracted day observed over the past four years. Drivers spent an average of 2 minutes and 36 seconds per hour on their screens, according to CMT data.

According to study results released by CMT and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) earlier this year, social media and apps play a large part in distracted driving. Drivers are most likely to be distracted by Instagram (24%), camera and WhatsApp (combined 20%), YouTube (19%), and phone app (15%). Usage was most prevalent in drivers ages 30-44.

Other often-used apps while driving include:

    • Facebook, 20%
    • Facebook Messenger, 19%
    • Gmail, Google Chrome, Adobe Acrobat Reader, YouTube, and Afterpay – combined usage by nearly 20% of drivers.

In a June 9 LinkedIn post, CMT Strategy and Corporate Development Senior Vice President Ryan McMahon wrote that surveys show three of the top four apps used behind the wheel are Meta products — Facebook Public Affairs, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

“Cambridge Mobile Telematics data reveals that distraction is detected in 34% of crashes analyzed, and these crashes occur at speeds 21% higher than those without screen interaction,” McMahon wrote. “Meta and other social media companies could consider implementing features like automatic ‘Do Not Disturb’ modes while driving, running targeted awareness campaigns, or partnering closer with traffic safety organizations.”


Featured image: Kalinovskiy/iStock

Graph provided by CMT

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