In 2012, the dangers of texting behind the wheel came to light, with the habit, unfortunately growing for young adults age 21 to 24, significantly more hazardous than driving drunk. Yet, if you thought a motorist sending a text, email, answering a call, or surfing the web was the highest threat on the road, think again. A recent study now indicates that daydreaming – yes, daydreaming – is an even greater hazard.
According to a report by the Erie Insurance Group, daydreaming is five times more dangerous than texting or talking on the phone. Erie found that 62 percent of all incidents related to distracted driving involved a motorist “lost in thought.” By comparison, just 12 percent came from mobile phone usage.
For the study, Erie examined 65,000 motor vehicle accidents from 2011 and ’12, 10 percent of which stemmed from distracted driving. Encompassing daydreaming and texting, “distracted driving,” for the purpose of the study, was defined as any activity that takes the driver’s eyes away from the road, his hands off the wheel, or his mind off driving.
Back in 2011, the Associated Press reported on the increase in texting behind the wheel for the 21 to 24 year old age bracket. Half of all young adults were found to engage in such activities – an increase of 50 percent from when a similar study was done in 2010.
Compared to drunk driving, texting behind the wheel is six times more dangerous, which essentially makes daydreaming 30 times as much of a hazard. To combat this trend, states like Connecticut enacted stricter laws about distracted driving, with more tickets handed out for such offenses during that time period. But, as studies have shown, stricter laws correlate with more reckless behavior behind the wheel, and as a result, incidents of texting have surged with new legislation.