Driver Phone Distraction During 41% of Daytime Trips

Ken Zino of on CMT’s DriveWell Technology

Big Brother run rampant or a socially beneficial use of data?

Driver distraction is a fast-growing problem that has proven difficult to quantify and contain, thanks to the lack of a consistent method of measurement and varying levels of enforcement across the U.S. According to a new report on phone use by Cambridge Mobile Telematics*. The data combined with CMT’s research and analysis offers” the most comprehensive overview of the state of phone distraction on our roads today,” CMT claims. Critics note that this is ”Big Brother” taken to a higher level. AutoInformed is in the early stages of testing the software on cars in use.

CMT claims (it specializes in smartphone telematics and driving behavioral analytics) that U.S. drivers were distracted by their phones during 41% of all daytime drives in 2019. Smart phone use has steadily risen over the last decade, so too has the issue of phone distraction behind the wheel, CMT observes.

The problem has continued despite the implementation of laws to prevent phone use while driving and continued fatalities that are a direct result of phone use distracted driving. Overall, the report reveals that phone distraction has the potential to lead to an unprecedented number of fatalities “if more modern solutions aren’t applied to the problem.”

“While much has been done over the last decade to reduce distraction on the roads, based on the steady rise in fatalities, it’s clear that there is still much work to be done,” said Ryan McMahon, VP of Insurance & Government Affairs at CMT, who also co-authored the report. “That’s why, at CMT, we’ve made it our mission to help reduce the number of preventable fatalities that occur on our roads and stop this slow-moving disaster in its tracks.”

CMT’s so-called  DriveWell technology can detect crashes and measure harsh braking, severe acceleration, cornering, phone distraction, and speeding events. Beyond measurement, the technology behind DriveWell is used to understand the crash risk associated with specific behaviors. CMT supports telematics-based insurance programs from top insurers that drastically help improve driving behavior on the road, putting them in a position to provide the necessary insights to help “dramatically reduce the number of road fatalities.” Well, that’s theory that awaits support from data.

In addition to an overview of distracted driving today, the report deals with:

  • The discrepancy between official statistics on distraction against actual ground measurements
  • Ways to solve the phone-based distraction problem, while generating sustained improvements in behavior
  • Long-term solutions that have outperformed state-wide law changes and nationwide communication campaigns
  • The ways telematics can drastically improve driving behavior and reduce fatalities
  • How this issue has been further heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic

Cambridge Mobile Telematics

*CMT’s stated mission is to make the world’s roads and drivers safer. Since its first product launch in 2012 that pioneered mobile usage-based insurance, CMT has become the world’s leading telematics and analytics provider for insurers, rideshares, and fleets. CMT’s DriveWell platform uses mobile sensing and behavioral science to measure driving risk and incentivize safer driving, while its Claim Studio reduces the claims cycle time with real-time crash detection, crash reconstruction, and damage assessment using telematics and artificial intelligence.

CMT has more than 50 active programs with insurers and other partners, improving safety for millions of drivers every day around the world. Started based on research at MIT and backed by the SoftBank Vision Fund to fuel its rapid growth, CMT is headquartered in Cambridge MA. To learn more, visit and follow CMT on Twitter @cmtelematics.

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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