– Driving from point A to B has never been so wrought with tempting driving
distractions. From built-in navigation systems to the ubiquity of hand-held
mobile phones, technology, among other age-old distractions, competes for
driver attention on the road. But according to the latest poll from PEMCO
Insurance, about two-thirds of Northwest drivers say they’re rarely or never
distracted behind the wheel.
poll finds that 69 percent of Washington drivers and 63 percent of drivers in
the Portland area say they’re rarely distracted. More than four out of
five drivers in both states say they don’t engage in common distractions, like
texting or talking on a cell phone, steering with their knees, or tending to
that leaves about one in three drivers who do feel distracted while driving at
least some of the time. Of those who admit to sometimes feeling distracted,
one-third are drivers in Washington and Oregon under age 35. What’s more
troubling, nearly one-quarter of younger drivers don’t think it’s dangerous to
is two-fold here: younger drivers have the least driving experience and are
already more likely to get in an accident. Adding distractions from technology
and passengers, along with an attitude that it’s not dangerous to drive
distracted, is dangerous for them, their passengers, and other drivers,” said
Jon Osterberg, PEMCO Insurance spokesperson.
drivers under age 35 account for about one-quarter of the population in the
U.S., young drivers were involved in more than 40 percent of fatal crashes
nationwide, according to a 2010 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA). Car crashes are the leading cause of death for
teenagers, according to NHTSA and the National Center for Health Statistics.
to the PEMCO poll, about half of drivers of all ages say it’s very dangerous
for them to drive with distractions, and significantly more – 78 percent –
think it’s extremely dangerous for other drivers to be distracted.
poll suggests that the most common driving distractions for all drivers include
drinking beverages, chatting with passengers, retrieving items such as a CD or
sunglasses, and eating food while driving. Across the board, younger Northwest
drivers say they’re more likely than older drivers to engage in those
less surprising, having children also leads to a greater likelihood of feeling
distracted behind the wheel. More than 40 percent of parents say they sometimes
or often feel distracted, while almost three-quarters of drivers without
children are never or rarely distracted, according to the poll.
many think multi-tasking while driving is no big deal, any time you take your
eyes off the road and your hands off the wheel, danger increases,” Osterberg
said. “It’s particularly risky for those who drive manual transmissions to do
things like eat food, tend to pets, hold a phone, put on makeup, or
learn more about the PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll and to view a summary of
the results, visit www.pemco.com/poll, where the public is
invited to participate in an informal version of the poll and see how their own
responses compare with those collected by FBK Research of Seattle in October
the PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll
Insurance commissioned this independent survey that asked Washington and Oregon
drivers several questions about driving habits and attitudes toward current
Northwest issues. The sample size, 609 respondents in Washington and 401
respondents in the Portland, Ore., metro area, yields an accuracy of +/- 4.1
percent and +/- 5.0 percent respectively at the 95 percent confidence level. In
other words, if this study were conducted 100 times, in 95 instances the data
will not vary by more than the associated error range.
Insurance, established in 1949, is a Seattle-based provider of auto, home,
boat, and umbrella insurance to Northwest residents. PEMCO Insurance is sold by
community agents throughout the region and through PEMCO offices. For more
information, visit www.pemco.com.