Root Insurance Study Reveals America’s Blind Spots behind the Wheel

Root Insurance, the nations only auto insurance company to discount insurance rates for drivers who avoid using their phones behind the wheel, today launched the results of their second annual distracted driving study, conducted online by Wakefield Research. The study reveals that nearly half of drivers surveyed (47%) cite distracted driving on the road as their top concern when driving, presenting a national issue for road safety.

Using a mobile device while driving has become second nature. As Roots study confirms, too many drivers dont think twice about this behavior, even when they should, said Root Insurance’s Director of Data Science for Telematics, Joe Plattenburg. The number of distractions are increasing, and so is the need for companies and drivers to find new ways to encourage focused driving.

Drivers know using their phone while driving is wrong but still do it anyway. Drivers admit to spending an average of 13 minutes a dayor 91 minutes a weekusing their devices while driving. Additionally, nearly 2 in 5 drivers (38%) who check their mobile devices while driving do not even put their phones down when they see law enforcement.

Almost all drivers (99%) point to phones as being among the top three distractions while driving. Distractions that are most likely to turn their attention away from the road and to their phone include:

  • Group chats, such as a text or an email chain with multiple people (52%)
  • Social media, such as memes or newsfeed (33%)
  • Streaming video, such as a show or movie trailer (18%)

Despite their own behavior, those surveyed remain intolerant of distracted driving by others. An overwhelming majority of drivers (89%) would give an Uber/Lyft driver a bad rating for texting while driving, while 39% admit theyve done that themselves. Meanwhile, nearly all drivers (90%) believe they are better behind the wheel than Uber/Lyft drivers.

Unrelated to mobile phone use, the study also found other unsafe activities are taking place on U.S. roads and highways. Nearly 3 in 10 drivers (29%) dont even keep their hands on the wheel, admitting they have steered with a different body part, such as a knee or chin.

Additional activities include:

  • Grooming while driving, doing their hair/makeup or shaving (18%)
  • Playing with a pet (13%)
  • Changing clothes (12%)

This study follows Roots 2019 Focused Driving Report, released earlier this month to better understand the severity of distracted driving. Based on real behavioral data, the report found that Gen Z drivers (18-24-year-olds) used their mobile devices while driving 20 times per 100 miles driven. Additionally, the report reveals the most and least focused drivers by state, city, and car make.

Roots mission is to help drivers make better decisions on the road, and the industry standard fear tactics are clearly not working, said Root Co-Founder and CEO Alex Timm. Weve heard from policyholders that when we incentivize our drivers with a lower insurance rate, they are more motivated to stay focused on the roads and not their mobile devices.

Last year Root launched their Focused Driving Discount, a new pricing incentive to curb distracted driving. With their model, drivers who avoid mobile phone use while driving can save up to an additional 10 percent on their insurance quote.

About Root:

Root Insurance is the nations first licensed insurance carrier powered entirely by mobile and founded on the principle that car insurance rates should be based on how you drive, not who you are. Through smartphone technology and data science, Root measures driving behavior and uses it as the primary factor in determining rates. The results are personalized car insurance for good drivers, better rates, and a seamless mobile app experience.

Root is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, and is currently available to drivers in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Utah, and will be coming to more states soon.

For more information, visit and get the rate you deserve by downloading the app.

About Wakefield Research:

The Root Insurance Survey was conducted online by Wakefield Research. Data is based on responses from 1,819 U.S. adult drivers between March 20 and March 26, 2019.

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Root Insurance
Cristol Rippe
VP, Marketing