News & Opinion | April 19, 2017 9:00 am

Here’s the Scientific Proof No One Needed Re: Distracted Driving

Those robot cars ready yet?

In 1920, a Philadelphia man named W. W. Macfarlane hopped in his car and headed down the road as he used a “wireless telephone” to speak with his wife on the other end of the line. Since a chauffeur was driving him, Macfarlane wasn’t a distracted driver, but his car phone paved the way for the manner in which people tend to drive today: with a mobile phone in hand.

According to a new study conducted by driving analytics company Zendrive that used sensor data to observe more than three million drivers across 5.6 billion miles of road, drivers use their phones on 88 percent of their trips and average 3.5 minutes on the phone per hour. Considering researchers estimate a two-second distraction increases the risk of an accident by 20 times, that’s not good, and Zendrive doesn’t sugarcoat it. “In other words, that’s equivalent to 105 opportunities an hour that you could  nearly kill yourself and/or others,” the company says.

To take the findings one step further, Zendrive’s data scientists calculated the ratio between the average daily trip time and the average amount of time drivers used their phones per day, and then broke the results down geographically by state and by city.

Zendrive’s calculations show drivers in Vermont, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Arkansas are the most distracted whereas drivers in Montana, Hawaii, Idaho, Washington and Oregon are the least. By city, drivers in L.A., Austin, Miami, Philadelphia and Chicago are the worst offenders, while drivers in San Francisco, Atlanta, Boston, Washington D.C. and Seattle all get good marks.

You might be thinking this data seems somewhat obvious — and it is — but it’s still important, as it gives lawmakers hoping to pass legislation facts to back up their assumptions.

Eyes on the road, big guy.