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Insurers Know Exactly How Often American Drivers Touch Their Phones

With distracted driving on the rise, phone-tracking startups try to show us we’re the problem. It’s not quite working.

Using mobile phone while driving
Source: Geber86/E+
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The distracted driving report by Zendrive, a traffic-data startup, makes it clearer and clearer each year that millions of Americans can’t stop themselves from talking, texting and livestreaming—yes, even using FaceTime—while driving. The results have been increasingly unsettling, showing that drivers in the U.S. are becoming more likely to use their smartphones more often.

This year, in a new twist, the company took the usage data from the tens of millions of cellphones it monitors and combined it with a self-assessment to the same drivers: Are you good at focusing on the road? The worrying verdict: American drivers have no idea how often they use their phones. The most distracted drivers in Zendrive’s sample gave themselves high marks for paying attention, with roughly one-third of the worst multi-taskers considering themselves “extremely safe.”