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When are drivers most likely to be texting behind the wheel?

Does it seem like texting drivers are everywhere? Despite the known dangers of texting behind the wheel and the laws enacted to prevent it, too many people can't run a simple errand without keeping in touch with friends and family. The texting problem can be particularly bad when people are driving to and from work and perhaps stuck in traffic or trying to multi-task.

Drivers are even more likely to text on the commute home from work than on the way to work. That's the finding of a study by the makers of a driving safety app called Drivemode. They looked at data from six million users to determine what times of day the most text messages were sent. They also determined which states have the most active texters.

New York had the largest number of messages sent during commute hours, with an average of 8.21 messages per hour. Other populous states like California (at 6.87 messages) and Texas made the top ten. Interestingly, so did Hawaii and Utah.

While it might be expected that peak time for messaging during the evening commute would be after 5 p.m., in most of the top ten states, it was from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. In some of those states, it was even earlier. This may be a reflection of the growing flexibility of work hours in populous states.

So what about morning commute times? Why are people less likely to text on their way to work than on the drive home? The Drivemode folks hypothesize that drivers are more likely to occupy themselves on the drive to work by listening to the news or perhaps music. On the way home, they may have more things to deal with, like determining whether they need to pick up dinner at a drive-thru, stop at the grocery store or dry cleaners or pick up the dog at the vets.

One thing we can say with certainty is that a driver who's texting behind the wheel, no matter the time of day, isn't paying enough attention to his or her surroundings. When one of these drivers causes a crash, Mississippi authorities can determine by looking at their phones whether they were indeed texting or talking at the time of the crash. This information can be used to help those injured by distracted drivers in their efforts to seek compensation via a lawsuit.

Source: Fox Illinois, "Texting while driving most common during evening rush hour [Study]," Ruben Porras, The Car Connection, April 27, 2018

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