#ZebraChat Recap: Distracted Driving Awareness Month


6 min read

In honor of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, The Zebra dedicated this month’s #ZebraChat to discuss the dangers of distracted driving. We invited Aceable, National Safety Council, and Teens in the Driver Seat to be our featured guests for the hour-long Q&A with the Twitterverse. 

We began our chat with a two-part question:

Q1a.) What are some of the worst distracted driving behaviors you’ve witnessed (or are guilty of) on the road?

Distracted driving is more than just texting while driving. There are many other seemingly-innocent behaviors that drivers are guilty of engaging in when they should be keeping their eyes on the road and hands on the steering wheel.

Q1b.) Do you consider holding your phone to use a map distracted driving? What about using it when stopped at a red light?

Distracted driving is more than just texting while driving. There are many other seemingly-innocent behaviors that drivers are guilty of engaging in when they should be keeping their eyes on the road and hands on the steering wheel. A recent study by AAA found that distraction “latency” lasts about 27 seconds — when a driver puts down their phone, GPS, or other device, there is still a 27-second period until a driver is fully engaged with the task of driving again.

Q2.) Why do you think the dangers of distracted driving aren’t taken seriously?

“It won’t happen to me.” This phenomenon, known as optimism bias, gives us unrealistic expectations of what may happen. In the case of distracted driving, we may overestimate our driving ability and underestimate the likelihood of something bad happening (e.g. car crashes).

There’s also evidence that suggests texting while driving is an addiction. In Should Phone Makers Take On the Text-While-Driving Problem?we point to a study commissioned by AT&T suggesting that this is an addictive behavior; expecting drivers to have the self-discipline to stop themselves from compulsively checking their phones might not be enough.

Q3.) Do you know of, or use, any apps or tools to prevent distracted driving?

Some safe driving app recommendations: Teen Driver App, TextNinja, and AT&T’s Drive Mode. Cellslip is a pouch that will block all incoming texts and calls. Waze also discourages drivers from navigating while driving. And then there’s the good old fashioned tactic of placing your cell phone in the glove compartment, back seat, or trunk of your vehicle.

Q4.) 46 states have already banned texting while driving. Should legislators consider enacting other laws?

This is where there’s some disagreement. While we can all agree that distracted driving is a bad behavior, not everyone agrees that more regulations would curb this behavior.  

Q5.) Should phone makers step in and use text-blocking technology to prevent someone from using their device while driving?

Much like the previous question, the answer to this one is also somewhat divisive. A distrust of the technology itself is the biggest concern.

Q6.) A cell phone/texting violation may only raise insurance rates by 2% but DUIs 80%. Should companies increase penalties?

In our 2016 State of Auto Insurance report, we found that a DUI raises rates 3200% higher than texting while driving does. Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous behaviors on the road, so should insurance companies raise insurance rates for those who caught and ticketed?

Q7.) What are some ways people can commit to not using phones while driving?

Q8.) What are some ways we can educate drivers on the importance of safe driving habits?

In case you’re wondering what Red Asphalt is. (Warning! It’s intense.)

And the winner of our Amazon Gift Card…

Finally, our favorite tweet from the chat!

And that’s a wrap on the chat!

Want to join our next #ZebraChat? It’s open to everyone and anyone, so long as you have a Twitter handle. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to Quoted to be notified of our next chat.