New study: Driving alone, we check the phone

Posted at 8:41 AM, Sep 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-07 08:41:46-04

ROCKFORD, Mich. -- According to AT&T, we're more likely to drive distracted when we're alone, texting, fiddling with the GPS, and talking on the phone.

According to new research, 64 percent of drivers are willing to check their phone while driving solo. But when someone else is in the vehicle, only 36 percent of drivers look at their phones. When that passenger is a child, the percentage drops to 30 percent.

Michigan State Police trooper Pete Fimbinger from the Rockford Post says that there's at least one car crash a day in the greater Grand Rapids area that involves a distracted driver.

AT&T, one of the leading cell phone companies, has released a powerful public service announcement that drives home the message that even when we're alone in the car we are never alone on the road.

Awareness of the dangers of distracted driving "needs to start with children, not when they’re teens," says Fimbinger. "Mom and dad need to be good examples for their children and not driving distracted."

Not only is distracted driving dangerous, it's illegal. It could cost you up $100 for first offenders and $200 for second offenders.

Trooper Finbinger believes people don't take the law seriously, believing it's just a civil infraction that doesn't have serious consequences. But when someone else is with them, drivers "think twice. I’d say they need to think twice when they’re by themselves as well."

AT&T's 30- PSA is part of their It Can Wait campaign. (Watch the full video.)

The campaign has yielded results in the 6 years since the It Can Wait campaign was launched:

  • Achieved more than 10 million pledges to not drive distracted.
  • Helped grow awareness of the dangers of smartphone distracted driving to more than 90% of audiences surveyed.
  • Collaborated with AT&T data scientists on research that shows how statewide anti-texting laws impact the rate of texting while driving.