New study shows Americans use phones 91 minutes a week while driving

Shaving, texting, changing clothes—our new study on distracted driving behaviors shows the increasing dangers on the road. The findings only further prove the importance of incentivizing safe driving practices with low rates and the Root Focused Driving Discount.

At Root, we know that people who drive well are less likely to get into accidents. That’s why we only insure good drivers and are able to keep our rates low.

In honor of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, we conducted our second annual study online through Wakefield Research. The results confirm Americans are making poor choices with cell phone use while driving.

Here are some of the most alarming behaviors drivers admit to doing.

Hourglass with a car and phone stuck in the sand inside

91 minutes a week on the phone

People admit to spending 13 minutes a day—or 91 minutes a week—using their devices while driving. And 1 in 10 drivers have streamed a video or show. The road is not the place for catching up on Netflix.

Driver putting on lipstick while driving

Grooming while driving

Whether it’s shaving, doing hair, or putting on makeup, 18% of people admit to grooming while driving. And 12% say they’ve changed clothes while behind the wheel. Being late is never an excuse for getting ready in the car.

Driver with feet on the steering wheel

Hands off the wheel

Drivers are steering with knees and chins instead of keeping hands on the wheel. Nearly 3 in 10 drivers (29%) admit to using body parts other than their hands when steering. Hands-free should only be for phones.

Driver playing with a pet while driving

Playtime with pets

13% of drivers admit to playing with pets while driving. Iggy can wait for that belly rub.


No matter the distraction, it’s clear we’ve gotten way too comfortable in our cars. Nearly half of drivers (47%) say their biggest concern on the road is distracted driving. Yet 82% of drivers admit to using a mobile device themselves. And almost all drivers (99%) point to their phone as the source of their top three distractions while driving.

These survey results further back up the data we released on Root’s most and least focused drivers in our 2019 Root Insurance Focused Driving Report.

We can—and must—do better. And since very little has worked to stop dangerous addictions like texting and driving, Root is rewarding good driving behaviors with lower car insurance rates. Root members who avoid their phones while driving earn up to an additional 10% off. Let’s be the change to these distracted driving statistics.

If your focused driving isn’t saving you money yet, check us out for a car insurance quote. We think you deserve rewards, too.

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