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Are phone addicts the new drunk drivers?

Drunk driving endangers the lives of both the driver and others on the road. But while most people would not dare get behind the wheel after drinking, an alarming number of them drive under the influence of something even deadlier: the smartphone.

According to a recent report, the number of “phone addicts” on the road doubled between 2018 and 2019. Here is how a phone addict behaves when behind the wheel:

  • Drives 1.5 times more than the average driver
  • Spends three times more drive time using their phone than the average driver
  • Actively ignores the road 28 percent of the time while driving

What’s more concerning is while 85 percent of surveyed phone addicts admit distracted driving is a problem, 90 percent believe they are safe drivers.

How dangerous is distracted driving?

The Centers for Disease Control defines distracted driving as driving while doing another activity that takes your attention from the road. A glance at your phone may seem harmless, but a study from the University of Utah found cell phone drivers were just as bad and sometimes worse than drunk drivers at driving.

Overall, the study found people who use phones while driving:

  • Are more likely to get into an accident than the average driver
  • Drive more slowly
  • Are 9 percent slower to apply the brakes
  • Are 24 percent more variant in their following distance
  • Are 19 percent slower to get back to normal speed after braking

Also, while drunk drivers are generally the most active on the road between 12 a.m. and 3 a.m., phone addicts are driving when roads are busy, between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.

The bottom line

Phone addicts today pose a more significant threat to public safety than those who drink and drive. To protect the lives of you and those around you, set the smartphone aside and keep yourself distraction-free.