• Dec 3, 2010
Now matter how you slice it – and no matter how many of us admit to doing itdistracted driving is pretty dumb. At first blush, then, it seems odd that a new poll commissioned by InsuranceQuotes.com indicates that well-educated and well-to-do American drivers are the most likely culprits of distracted driving.

When you consider that drivers in higher income brackets are more likely to have electronic gadgetry inside their cars with them at any given time, you begin to understand why drivers with a college degree that make more than $75,000 per year are the highest offenders of talking on cell phones or texting while driving. Or worse.

Not that the picture is particularly rosy for the rest of the class... a full 93 percent of responders admit to driving while distracted, regardless of age or class, and 40 percent report that their habits have gotten them into trouble, be that by being cited with a ticket, getting into a near-miss or even a full-blown accident. Indeed, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 16 percent of all fatal crashes in 2009 were attributable to distracted driving, and we'd only expect that figure to get worse as more distracting devices hit the market. Hit the jump for the full press release.

[Source: InsuranceQuotes.com | Image: Corbis]
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Who's That Distracted Driver in Your Rearview Mirror? Poll Says It's Likely Someone With Lots of Brains and Bucks

AUSTIN, Texas, Dec. 2, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Well-educated, well-off American drivers say they've suffered the consequences of distracted driving more than other motorists, from getting a ticket to getting involved in a major accident, according to a poll commissioned by InsuranceQuotes.com.

The poll, conducted for InsuranceQuotes.com by GfK Roper, a division of GfK Custom Research North America, shows how universal distracted driving has become: 93 percent of drivers report they engage in it somehow, whether by texting, talking on a cell phone -- even kissing.

All that distraction has consequences: Four in 10 American adults who are licensed motorists acknowledge that being distracted while driving caused them to do one of the following: swerve into another lane, slam on the brakes, get a ticket, almost get into an accident, or have a minor or major wreck.

That number rose to 49 percent for drivers who have a college degree and 43 percent for drivers who earn at least $75,000 a year. Those are the highest numbers among drivers from all income and education levels covered in the poll.

"The InsuranceQuotes.com poll on distracted driving indicates that people who have brains and bucks are more likely to be the motorists you see who are eating, reading or even kissing behind the wheel," said John Egan, managing editor of Bankrate Insurance, which owns InsuranceQuotes.com. "It appears that well-to-do, well-educated Americans are multitaskers at work, at home-and in the car."

Among the findings of the poll:

* 41 percent of well-educated drivers and 35 percent of high-income drivers say they've swerved out of their lane as a result of distracted driving, versus 32 percent of all drivers polled.
* 37 percent of drivers with a college degree and 33 percent in the highest income bracket report slamming on their brakes because of driving distractions, compared with 29 percent of all motorists polled.
* 26 percent of well-educated drivers and 22 percent of well-off drivers indicate that distracted driving caused them to nearly get into an accident, compared with 18 percent of all drivers polled.


Sixteen percent of fatal crashes in 2009 were attributed to distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Experts say any at-fault crash, including a wreck attributed to distracted driving, can trigger a hike in a driver's auto insurance premiums.

To see more findings from the InsuranceQuotes.com distracted driving poll, visit www.insurancequotes.com/distracted-driving.

Poll methodology


This poll was conducted online Oct. 1-3, 2010, via OMNIWEB, a weekly national online omnibus service of GfK Roper Custom Research North America, for InsuranceQuotes.com. GfK Roper completed 1,006 interviews with 485 male and 521 female adults age 18 and older from a representative sample of the online population from GfK's online consumer panel. Of this group, GfK Roper identified 858 who had a valid driver's license.

The raw data were weighted by a custom-designed computer program that automatically develops a weighting factor for each respondent using five variables: age, sex, education, race and geographic region. Each interview was assigned a weight based on the relationship between the actual proportion of the population with its specific combination of the five variables used, and the proportion in the sample that week. The margin of error for the weighted data is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

About InsuranceQuotes.com

InsuranceQuotes.com provides consumers with a free, easy way to shop for and compare insurance quotes online, and delivers information about auto, home, health and life insurance and other types of insurance.

For more information, visit www.insurancequotes.com.

InsuranceQuotes.com is part of Bankrate Insurance. Aside from InsuranceQuotes.com, other Bankrate Insurance companies are NetQuote.com, InsureMe.com, LocalInsurance.com and AutoInsuranceQuotes.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 38 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      well as i have figured, that if driver doesn't get distracted by the phone or the BB, they are distracted by the radio, or make up application, or keep the kids quiet, or panicking on how to get back to the right road when they are lost, or daydreaming, or taken away by imagining what they should have said to the boss/girlfriend/wife/stranger or the sexy lingery model with on the billboard etc... there is a whole ocean load of things that might distract you including the view of the ocean itself... if a driver is going to be distracted anything will take his attention it's a fact... no one is going to travel a set distance with 100% focus on the task of driving, or you will have more stress and heart attack induced accidents... which will in turn spur the medical board and the NTSB to come out with a joint statistic saying that people should get a little relaxed in their car to minimize accidents...

      There is no solution... even with blue-tooth hands-free, if the driver thinks driving is the secondary task and most of them do think that...
        • 4 Years Ago
        The solution is.... we're headed to an autonomous "podular" transportation system.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'd like to point out that higher levels of education and intelligence are mutually exclusive.
        • 4 Years Ago
        based on his comment, mitsu is in the 3rd group, which is neither.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ mitsurugi3939 , fail.
        • 4 Years Ago
        What an extremely silly comment.

        What you should really say, is that SOME people who are well educated, are not critical of themselves and their actions enough.

        Education, is still one of the most important advantages one can give themselves. Trying to fool yourself, saying anything else makes you look bitter, foolish, and under-educated.

      • 4 Years Ago
      It's sickening how many people in this country are being very irresponsible and completely ignoring the bans on driving with a hand-held phone. These idiots will be the same ones crying about their "rights" when the government mandates jamming for cars. Don't think it can't happen. The DOT has already said they are researching the technology.

      Get a hands-free device and be much safer. Or better yet get an integrated system with your next car.

      Put down the phone and drive!!!

        • 4 Years Ago
        Or, god forbid, enjoy a few minutes of contemplation about life while not having to always be jawing away with someone.

        Now let me get back to my salad. Hold the wheel while I put on these croutons, will ya?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Maybe everyone should drive manuals.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Driving with a manual doesn't require much concentration. Or effort.
      • 4 Years Ago
      1. You cannot educate "common sense" into people. There are some highly educated fools out there.

      2. This may say a lot about the current state of our educational system where everyone is sent to college. So some of those educated high paid folks may be the same folks who were working in a factory 30 years ago. . My wife supervises MBA's who can't write a coherent email.

      3. The "I'm special I can do anything I can spin a basketball while typing and driving" mentality spawned by the encourage "self esteem in your kids" craze. Until they take out a pedestrian they will never be convinced otherwise.

      I wrote this in my truck while eating a salad at 80mph.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I just had a discussion with a guy I work with. I told him there is a big difference between book smart and "street" smart.

        A lot of the book smart people I know have absolutely no common sense or couldn't answer a question unless it was about something they studied. It's funny, the people I know (who are around my age) that didn't go to college for 4+ years are more successful then the ones that did complete college. I have a friend right now who has a bachelors in something to do with genetics and is applying to grad school and is working at Home Depot and lives with his mom. I work with a guy who is younger then my friend and already has a house and is married. I know a lot of people in the same situations.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Is this because stupid one can't figure out how to use a "smartphone"?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Guess people on this board don't get some of us have jobs that entail 24 hour alerts that must be answered within 15 minutes of their arrival. Sounds great until you're stuck in traffic 45-60 minutes a day. Driving in bumper to bumper traffic it takes moments to hit reply on an email and send. Not much distraction there but to read the comments here, people in such jobs are evil and inconsiderate.
        • 4 Years Ago
        They are evil and inconsiderate; you might think your job is that important until you rear end my Porsche and get sued into oblivion. That fancy job won't do jack to save you.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I've seen a lot 17year old girls driving who apparently have multiple phds and make well over 6 figures. Who knew?
      • 4 Years Ago
      "Now matter how you slice it" ? I think you have an extra w in there.
      • 4 Years Ago
      BFD. Well-educated also tend to be worse drivers, bad bus drivers, bad security guards, etc. etc. etc.

      They also tend to be able to afford (or their jobs pay for or they deduct the expense from their private businesses) the distracting devices.

      Statisticians would call it confounded data.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Actually a ticket costs far more than the nominal cost of the fine. Insurance is where you have to worry with more than a single ticket. Your premiums can rise substantially for years to come, making that $100 fine perhaps $1500 or more. A-holes who drive and text or whatever probably do so w/o regard to getting a ticket for it. In some places that isn't even an issue and I doubt some drivers would even realize they could get a fine. Georgia just added the law, for example.
        • 4 Years Ago
        yep, your right on. I'd like to add that they also can afford the ticket too. Does a doctor really care about a 100$ ticket, probably not. a McDonald's worker, heck yeah. That's why then need a graduated income based ticket system. Say 2% of your income as a ticket, now that doctor will be listening. Personally sometimes time is more important than money. So hit them with community service too! There's absolutely no reason one must text while driving just pull over and have a dounut with a cop.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Another very useful study indeed...
      • 4 Years Ago
      There's lies...damn lies...and statistics.

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