Estimated Weekly Trips Made While Engaged in Potentially Distracting Behaviors

This section attempts to estimate the number of trips made by drivers who are engaged in potentially distracting behaviors. The estimates were made by applying the reported frequency of trips respondents engaged in the various behaviors to the reported number of one-way weekly driving trips. It is important to note that the frequency of engaging in the behaviors was asked in very broad categories. The following percentages values were assigned to the reported responses:

"rarely or never" 5%
"about one quarter of driving trips" 25%
"about one-half of driving trips" 50%
"about three-quarters of driving trips" 75%
"all or most driving trips" 90%

While we recognize that the scale uses broad categories for frequency of behavior, and may not discriminate all levels of frequency, these estimates are intended only to provide very rough estimates of the magnitude of distracted-related trips, and also to offer a relative comparison of the frequency of different types of potentially distracting behaviors. These trip estimates do not take into account the length of the trip or, the level of engagement in or time spent involved in the reported behavior. The number of trips may total to more than the 4.3 billion estimated total weekly trips as drivers may engage in more than one behavior on a trip.

Estimated Weekly Trips Engaging in Technology-based Behaviors

Drivers make an estimated 1.9 billion trips a week in which they change the radio or look for CDs or tapes. An estimated 776 million trips (18% of all weekly trips) are made in an average week in which an outgoing wireless call was placed. About 792 million trips (19% of all trips) are made each week in which an incoming wireless call is accepted. While significantly fewer trips are made by drivers using other types of devices, a large number of trips are made each week by drivers who drive while accessing the wireless Internet (116 million or 3% of all trips), answering a pager or beeper (131 million or 3% of trips), and using navigation or crash avoidance systems (59 million or 1% of all weekly trips). [Figure 6-A]

Estimated Weekly Trips Engaging in Non-Technology-Based Behaviors

Driving trips involving non-technology-based behaviors are even more pervasive. Close to an estimated 2.4 billion driving trips (about 56% of all trips) are made weekly by drivers who are conversing with other occupants, while more than 1.2 billion trips (29% of all trips) are made while the driver is eating or drinking.

Drivers make approximately 776 million trips weekly (18% of trips) while dealing with children in the back seat. More than 300 million weekly trips are made by drivers who are looking at maps or directions (414 million or 10% of trips), engaging in personal grooming (349 million or 8% of trips) or reading printed materials (303 million or 7% of trips). [Figure 6-B]