While the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed the way our streets and highways looked for most of 2020 and 2021, certain troubling patterns emerged even during those short spans. Researchers have started tabulating data and have issued safety warnings to drivers as the roads approach a pre-pandemic level of traffic.
Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT) recently tabulated data based on driving systems used to provide usage-based information to auto insurance carriers and highlighted numerous interesting trends, including:
- Distracted driving is up: Based on their data, the researchers noted that drivers in February of 2022 spent an average of 1 minute and 38 seconds distracted per hour of driving. This represents a 30% increase from distracted driving totals in February of 2020 – the last full month before lockdowns started.
- Speeding is down: In April of 2020, with the pandemic and lockdowns in effect, CMT data recorded that drivers spent, on average, 2 minutes and 28 seconds per hour speeding. By January 2022, with the country slowly emerging from the pandemic, the number fell to 2 minutes and 22 seconds per hour speeding. While this is not a dramatic change, it suggests a downward trend.
Driving distractions can run the full range from looking at the next steps in GPS driving directions to having a meal on the way home from work. Cognitive, visual and manual distractions tempt drivers no matter the length of their trip nor the time of day. The CMT study suggests that drivers face more distractions during evening trips, but distractions are still prevalent at all times of the day. A distracted driver can cause serious motor vehicle collisions leading to catastrophic injuries for all vehicle occupants.