Survey: Parents, gig workers most likely to use smartphone apps while driving

Lots of drivers admit to being distracted while behind the wheel – and parents and gig workers are the worst offenders, according to a new survey.

A nationwide survey of more than 2,000 licensed drivers found that half of those surveyed admitted to performing at least one item on a list of “device-based tasks” during most or all their drives in the previous 30 days.

Those tasks include using navigation, calling and texting.

Many of the respondents said they did those tasks hands-free, though the IIHS points out that even hands-free actions can take away focus from the road.

The survey found that 8 in 10 respondents who regularly programmed a GPS did so hands-free, and that about 7 in 10 participants who regularly sent or read texts while driving also did so hands-free.

At the same time, 8% of respondents reported regularly playing games while driving; 10% said they regularly watched videos, and 10% said they regularly posted to social media while driving.

The survey also found that parents of children 18 and younger and gig economy workers were especially prone to device-based distractions. The IIHS research points out the gig workers’ activities “went beyond the use of their employer’s app.”

“One possible reason could be that they’re more tempted to conduct other business or find ways to entertain themselves while driving because their jobs force them to spend so much time behind the wheel,” the researchers said.

John Aaron

John Aaron is a news anchor and reporter for WTOP. After starting his professional broadcast career as an anchor and reporter for WGET and WGTY in Gettysburg, PA, he went on to spend several years in the world of sports media, working for Comcast SportsNet, MLB Network Radio, and WTOP sports.

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