People using their phones while driving is a huge problem, but a new iPhone feature is helping

  • 37% of trips include at least some significant phone usage while the car is moving, according to a new study.
  • But features like Apple’s “Do Not Disturb While Driving” can reduce phone use by as much as 8%.
  • The results show that small software changes on big platforms like Apple’s can nudge people to make safer decisions.

It shouldn’t be surprising that people love to use their phones while driving — if you commute in a car, you see it every day, either in your car or other people’s.

But it’s somewhat surprising how many people drive while distracted: there’s significant phone use during as many as 37% of trips logged by Everdrive, an app developed by car insurance company Everquote.

During those trips, people were using their phones for as much as 11% of the time, or about 3 minutes during a 29 minute drive on average, according to the Everdrive study released on Wednesday, which examined 781 million miles of driving data from sensors like your phone’s GPS and accelerometer.

But there is one silver lining to the study: Apple’s new “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature designed to reduce distracted driving is working. Basically, if your iPhone detects you’re in a moving car, it will turn off all notifications and you can set an automatic text response to tell your friends and family you can’t respond because you’re behind the wheel.

Everquote found that 70% of people in its study kept the DND While Driving feature turned on after Apple released it last September. And between September 19 and October 25 last year, people with DND on used their phones 8% less, according to the study.

So it’s not a silver bullet, but it turns out a software update can reduce distracted driving.

Other interesting stats from the study:

  • States with laws prohibiting phone use while driving showed the least phone use while driving.
  • Drivers tend to make a hard brake on 25% of trips.
  • The states with the worst driving scores are Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.
  • The states with the best driving scores are Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Alaska, and Idaho
April 19th, 2018 by 5 Boroughs Insurance Agency