Well-educated and well-off American drivers say they have suffered the consequences of distracted driving more than other motorists, according to an online poll commissioned by InsuranceQuotes.com, an online provider of insurance quotes for various products.
The consequences included obtaining a ticket or getting involved in a major accident, showed the poll conducted for InsuranceQuotes.com by GfK Roper, a division of GfK Custom Research North America.
The poll showed how universal distracted driving had become with 93 percent of drivers reporting that they engage in it somehow, whether by texting, talking on a cell phone or kissing.
Distractions result in 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.
This number has risen to 49 percent for drivers with a college degree and 43 percent for drivers who earn at least $75,000 a year. These are the highest numbers among drivers from all incomes 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,” he said.
The other findings of the poll are as follows:
- 41 percent of well-educated drivers and 35 percent of high-income drivers say they have swerved out of their lane as a result of distracted driving compared to 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 due to 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.
The poll was conducted online between October 1 and 3 via Omniweb, a weekly national online omnibus service of GfK Roper Custom Research North America, for InsuranceQotes.com.
GfK Roper conducted 1,006 interviews comprising 485 men and 521 women adults aged 18 years and above from a representative sample of the online population from GfK’s online consumer panel.
GfK Roper identified 858 drivers with a valid driver's license.
The raw data was 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.
Findings of the distracted driving poll is available on InsuranceQuotes.com.