"Lost in Thought" Drivers Cause More Accidents than Those Using Mobile Phones, Says Study


Latest police data in the United States reveal some surprising statistics. It seems that the use of mobile phones while driving, blamed by many as one of the leading causes of traffic accidents, is not as harmful as being “lost in thought” or simply put, daydreaming.

Ten percent of fatal auto accidents in the States involved at least one motorist who was distracted, according to a statement by Erie Insurance Group that analyzed 2010 and 2011 national crash data from NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System. The causes of the distraction in 62 percent of the cases was daydreaming and being “lost in thought”, with mobile phone use being blamed in only 12 percent of the accidents caused by distracted drivers.

“The results were disturbing,” Doug Smith, senior vice president of personal lines at Erie, said in a statement. His company advises drivers to let incoming calls go to voicemail and to pull over when writing or reading text messages.

As for daydreaming or lost in thought drivers, The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety advises them to remain focused on the road by playing the “what if” game and asking themselves how they would react if something unexpected were to happen (see this video, for example).

The foundation also advises motorists to identify and overcome any diversions that are responsible for daydreaming. “Treat driving as a complicated task requiring your full attention. Remember 20 complex decisions are needed for every mile you drive,” the foundation wrote on its website.

Rubbernecking, talking with other people in the car, eating and moving an object in the vehicle, such as a pet, are cited by Erie Insurance Group among the biggest distractions for drivers. We're curious - and this stays between us - how many of you do similar things while driving and what are the things that distract you behind the wheel?

By Dan Mihalascu

Story References: Bloomberg



It's a Mad, Mad World said... »April 05, 2013

Here's the reality: people encounter deaths of family and friends; get fired; get drunk; talk to f@#king much on the mobile phone even while not driving; are mentally unstable. Yet, they easily get behind the wheel of a vehicle and take all of the above on the road. Go figure.

500normal said... »April 06, 2013

No shit!??? Did we even need to do a survey to see this. Cell phones and texting are being used as a scapegoat for the country's failure to properly train drivers before just handing over a drivers license. .... I think we should ban "thinking while driving"

Garrett Spicer said... »April 07, 2013

It'll be illegal to think now.

Edgar Law Firm said... »April 08, 2013

Drivers put everyone at risk of death or serious injury
when they take their eyes off the road. Distracted driving is an act of extreme
negligence that puts other motorists, passengers and even the distracted
drivers themselves at risk. Today’s modern driver is distracted by a number of
things, including texting, emailing or talking on a cell phone as well as GPS
devices, eating or drinking, searching for objects on the car floor, adjusting
radios or talking to other passengers in the vehicle. Your post is right to
suggest that it is critical for every individual to make the road their sole
focus when getting behind the wheel.

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