A higher percentage of drivers admit to texting behind the wheel than grooming while driving in a new iSeeCars.com survey. 

If you asked a friend what they do while they are behind the wheel of their car, they will most likely give you a simple answer, “drive.” Of course that’s true, but what else are they doing? We see dangerous driving everyday. Drivers going above the speed limit or fiddling with phones, eating a burger, shaving or applying make-up. U.S. government statistics show in 2011, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver[i], and there were 9,944 speeding-related fatalities.[ii]

iSeeCars decided to drilldown into this behavior and ask drivers, besides actually driving, what they are doing behind the wheel.

We surveyed 1,000 participants and gave them a list of things we’ve seen people doing while driving (eating, texting/emailing, talking on the phone, grooming, speeding, and none of the above). We asked them to select “which of these do you do behind the wheel?” (multiple answers allowed).  “An astounding  35% of the people surveyed say they either multitask or drive above the speed limit while behind the wheel,” said Phong Ly, CEO and co-founder of iSeeCars said.  19.3% say they drive above the speed limit; 17.1% talk on the phone; 16.6% eat; 5.1% text or email; and 2.9% groom.

The U.S. government cites texting as the most “alarming” form of distracted driving because it requires the driver’s visual, physical, and cognitive attention. Perhaps not surprisingly, only a small percentage (5.1%) of respondents to the iSeeCars survey say they drive and text or email since it is illegal to do so in 41 states.

Other datapoints:

  • There were more responses from men (23.2%) acknowledging that they drive above the speed limit than women (15.4%)
  • A greater percentage of women (17.2%) talk on the phone while behind the wheel than men (15.5%)
  • The greater availability of public transportation could play a role in the fact that respondents in urban areas were the highest percentage answering “none of the above,” and the lowest percentage in every other category.
  • Respondents 25-34 years old were the highest percentage of any age group saying they speed, eat, talk on the phone and text/email behind the wheel. They were also the lowest percentage answering “none of the above.”

“Just as we finished this survey, New York announced that 91 parking areas along state highways will be designated as ‘texting zones’,” Phong Ly, CEO and co-founder of iSeeCars said. “Hopefully, this is top of mind for other states as well and they will continue to encourage drivers to act safely behind the wheel.”

About iSeeCars.com:

iSeeCars is a car search engine that helps consumers find the best deal by providing key insights and analysis about each used car.  The proprietary iSeeCars algorithm ranks cars by calculating an overall score based on analysis of the car’s condition, history, negotiability, price and the seller.  Based in the Boston area, iSeeCars was founded by former TripAdvisor and SAP developers and executives who were frustrated with the used car shopping experience.


[i] http://www.distraction.gov/content/get-the-facts/facts-and-statistics.html

[ii] http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811751.pdf

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