Erie Insurance analysis reveals drivers are “double distracted”—snapping scenic pics and posting to social media—all #whiledriving

California, Florida, Texas top the list of states for most double distracted drivers


ERIE, Pa. (March 22, 2016) – People aren’t just multi-tasking at work and home; a new analysis shows they’re also doing double duty while driving. Erie Insurance analyzed social media data to coincide with Distracted Driving Awareness Month and gain insight into what drivers are doing behind the wheel.

The company analyzed Twitter and Instagram posts that came from mobile devices and used the popular hashtag #whiledriving.  The top five hashtags used in tandem with #whiledriving included clouds, sunset, sky, nature and sun, strongly suggesting that people are snapping pictures of beautiful scenery and posting them to social media, while at the same time operating their vehicles. The ERIE hashtag analysis also found that men were more likely to be double distracted than women, with 55 percent of #whiledriving posts coming from men, and 45 percent from women.

“Drivers should be keeping their hands on the wheel, their eyes on the road, and their attention on driving but, based on our analysis of the ‘while driving’ hashtag, many appear instead to be gazing off into the sunset, often times snapping and sharing photos—clearly an unsafe situation,” said Doug Smith, Erie Insurance senior vice president of Personal Lines.

Smith said that the behaviors suggested by the hashtag analysis show some parallels with a prior Erie Insurance study of police data that found daydreaming to be the driving distraction most associated with fatal car crashes.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 3,179 people were killed and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2014 alone.

“The statistics about the dangers of distracted driving are alarming,” said Smith. “So while it’s understandable to want to share a picturesque sky with your social media followers—imagine if it were the last one. It’s just not worth it. We hope our analysis helps drive that point home.”

The top 10 hashtags used in conjunction with #whiledriving were:

  1. Clouds                 
  2. Sunset 
  3. Sky                        
  4. Nature
  5. Sun                       
  6. Nofilter                               
  7. Landscape
  8. Car        
  9. Driving 
  10. Selfie    

The top U.S. states with the most posts using #whiledriving were:

  1. California
  2. Florida
  3. Texas
  4. South Carolina
  5. New York
  6. Illinois
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Oregon
  9. Colorado
  10. Nevada

To arrive at its findings, ERIE reviewed 90 days of social media tracking data purchased from the analytics firm Keyhole. The data collected were from iPhones, iPads and Androids that had their location services turned on.

About Erie Insurance

According to A.M. Best Company, Erie Insurance Group, based in Erie, Pennsylvania, is the 10th largest homeowners insurer and 12th largest automobile insurer in the United States based on direct premiums written and the 15th largest property/casualty insurer in the United States based on total lines net premium written. The Group, rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best Company, has more than 5 million policies in force and operates in 12 states and the District of Columbia. Erie Insurance Group is a FORTUNE 500 company, a Barron’s 500 company and has been recognized by Forbes as one of America's 50 Most Trustworthy Financial Companies.

News releases and more information about Erie Insurance Group are available at www.erieinsurance.com.

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