Has the pandemic changed texting and driving? Survey says: somewhat.

No surprise here: one thing that has drastically shifted over the course of the last year is the number of people who commute to work. CivicScience data tracking commuters show a steep decline in the number of people commuting, from 77% in Q1 2020 to 64% Q2 2021 to date.

While that stat is unsurprising due to the pandemic-driven shift to working from home, perhaps it has had a small impact on the number of people who (fess up) to distracted driving, as CivicScience data show. Additionally, the data show a slight decline in the percentage of people who say they look at social media or other apps while on the road.

In another survey, 38% of American drivers 18 and older say that it’s okay to look at your phone if you’re at a stoplight. You’re still operating a couple-thousand pound piece of heavy machinery stopped or not, but hey, we’re just a data company.

While texting and driving is down slightly overall, likely due to overall decline of people driving places during the pandemic, Gen Z adults have embraced the pastime often at a rate four times that of the next age group up. However, Millennials and younger Gen Xers are the most likely to say they look at social media apps while behind the wheel.

While women are two-percentage points more likely than men to say they text and drive often, they are overall less likely to do so compared to males.
Men are also more likely to report they look at social media apps while driving.

The string that ties this all together is device addiction. Those who admit to texting and driving at any frequency are much more likely to consider themselves addicted to their digital devices.

One question remains: will the dominance of distracted driving by Gen Z continue as they age?