2021 Distracted Driving Report

Eyes on the road

Each year, Root publishes our Distracted Driving Report to analyze exclusive driving data about focus behind the wheel. In this year’s report, we share our latest findings and explore new driver insights to uncover what causes some people to lose focus on the road.

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Average distracted driving events

Overall levels of distracted driving slightly increased in 2020, with the average driver using their phone 18 times every 100 miles—that’s once every 5.5 miles.

Total miles analyzed

We analyzed more than 6 billion miles in 2020, a 30% increase from 2019. That’s enough to fully drive U.S. Route 20—the country’s longest highway stretching 3,365 miles from Boston, MA to Newport, OR—1,832,216 times.

A state of focus

For the third year running, Montana has claimed the title of most focused driving state—with drivers there keeping their attention on the road and using their phones 45% less than drivers in this year’s least focused state. With all that natural beauty in Big Sky Country, it’s no surprise that drivers might find it a little easier to put down the phone and take in the sights.

Better laws make an impact

A growing number of states are enforcing distracted driving laws that prohibit handheld cell phone use and text messaging for all drivers. Many of these states have adopted a strict “primary enforcement” approach that allows a driver to be cited for cellphone use with no other traffic violation taking place. Our analysis reveals a correlation between states with strict primary enforcement laws and significantly fewer incidences of distracted driving—with 75% of those states falling below the national baseline for distracted driving events.

The majority of drivers are multitasking

64% of drivers report checking their phone while driving. Of them, 55% do so while at a stoplight, and 22% check their phone while moving in slow traffic. Despite the majority of respondents occasionally taking their eyes off the road to check their phone, only 33% feel that they can be a safe driver 
while doing so.

What's in a name?

Let’s ask Donna. Or Debra. Or Tammy. Out of everyone who drove with Root this year, drivers named Donna were best at keeping their hands at 9 and 3 and off of their phones.

Under the hood

Plymouth rose from the #9 spot last year to overtake Tesla as this year’s most focused car make—with drivers using their phones 42% less than those driving this year’s least focused car make.

Get the full story

At Root, we believe in the power of data to empower safer driving. Download the 2021 Focused Driving Report to explore all of our latest findings, reflect on your own driving behaviors, and consider ways to help make the roads a safer place for all of us.

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What’s your #FocusKryptonite?

Staying focused behind the wheel isn’t always easy. From dogs in neighboring cars that you can’t help but stare at to snapping a picture of that ridiculous bumper sticker in front of you—we’ve all got that one thing that tends to distract us more than anything else. At Root, we call that Focus Kryptonite. This year, we’ve surveyed thousands of drivers across the U.S. to find their #FocusKryptonite. See more on our Instagram account @rootinsurance.

This report includes data that does not reflect how Root prices an individual’s auto insurance policy. Data based on an average.

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