Road Alert: Is Every Driver Distracted?

Distracted driving isn’t just a passenger car problem; commercial drivers also admit to being distracted on the road

Columbus, OH (Apr. 2, 2024) – New data reveals that drivers continue to be distracted behind the wheel. The latest driving behaviors survey from Nationwide polled standard drivers and commercial drivers and revealed additional risky behaviors that are impacting all drivers on the road.

One-third (34%) of commercial drivers admitted they sometimes or often feel distracted behind the wheel, and their peers are noticing, because 6 in 10 agree that other commercial drivers are looking at their phones more often and driving faster than they did a year ago.

By the numbers:

The primary causes of distractions for commercial drivers:

  • 55% using GPS/Nav systems
  • 36% responding to work text messages
  • 27% texting/talking on mobile phones
  • 13% checking social media apps

Why it matters:

Many commercial drivers report taking these actions for work purposes. This could suggest they are feeling pressured by their employer to make tight timelines, which are causing distractions while behind the wheel.

  • 90% of consumers say that they feel it is dangerous to hold a phone in their hand while driving, whether to talk, text or navigate.

It’s not me, it’s you!

Consumers say the problem is other drivers, with 8 in 10 (80%) rating their own driving as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent,’ compared to other passenger cars on the road (14%) or commercial vehicles (25%). Overwhelming majorities agree driving has become more dangerous, reporting other drivers are more often looking at their phones (92%).

What we’re saying:

Nationwide’s telematics driving data shows that drivers take their eyes off the road at least 12 times per day. The average distraction for a driver traveling at 45MPH would cover the length of three football fields! States with hands-free laws are helping to minimize distraction, but we need all 50 states to adopt hands-free laws to continue to reduce crashes and save lives,” said Kelly Hernandez, AVP of Nationwide’s personal telematics.

A potential solution:

Many states are exploring Hands Free legislation as a way to curb distracted driving. Those laws still have strong public support.

By the numbers: 

  • 89% support laws or legislation in their state to prohibit drivers from holding their cell phones while talking or manually using their cell phones to text, email or look at anything on their phones while operating a motor vehicle.
  • 26 states and D.C. have primary hands-free laws in place, leaving 16 states that have no laws prohibiting handheld cell phone use while behind the wheel and eight more that need to strengthen their laws to primary, all driver hands-free laws.
  • Ohio passed Hands Free legislation in 2022 and saw a 16% reduction in distracted driving-related accidents in the first nine months of 2023. Over the same time period, distracted driving fatalities also declined by nearly 25%.

Go deeper:

Visit the Governor’s Highway Safety Association to see if your state has enacted Hands Free Legislation, or Nationwide’s distracted driving resource center to learn more.

About Nationwide

Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the United States. Nationwide is rated A+ by Standard & Poor’s. An industry leader in driving customer-focused innovation, Nationwide provides a full range of insurance and financial services products including auto, business, homeowners, farm and life insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities and mutual funds; excess & surplus, specialty and surety; and pet, motorcycle and boat insurance. For more information, visit

Source: Nationwide

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