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Smartphones Rule, But NOT Behind the Wheel

Graphic from itcanwait.com.

 

As much as we applaud what the Smartphone Era and innovative mobile-app research technology combined with a dedicated mobile panel are doing for the quality, consistency, timeliness and speed of market research, there is one piece of bad news about mobile that nobody should ignore: smartphones and driving make a deadly mix.

 

This detailed Bloomberg report sorts through the evidence, and concludes that a 14.4% jump in annual traffic fatalities in the United States during 2015 and 2016 doesn’t just correlate with the rise in smartphone adoption, but that drivers’ misuse of phones should be regarded as a significant cause. Miles driven rose just 4.5% over the two years.

 

Fatalities declined from more than 50,000 a year in the late 1970s to a low of about 32,000 in 2011, as automakers upped their games when it came to safety design, and consumers began to demand high safety ratings and features such as anti-lock brakes. But the two consecutive years of rising traffic deaths lifted the annual toll to about 37,000 in 2016.

 

So to users of the Surveys on the Go® app, and to everyone else who’s participating in the Smartphone Era – please be safe. Please remember that there’s no such thing as smart use of a smartphone when you’re behind the wheel.

 

Here are some educational resources:

 

 “From One Second to the Next,” a wrenching short documentary on YouTube by the acclaimed film director, Werner Herzog, puts a tragic human face to the consequences of texting-while-driving. It’s presented by the four leading mobile carriers, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon.

 

“It Can Wait” is a website devoted to preventing texting-while-driving. There, more than 21.6 million people have taken a pledge to let it wait when you’re driving and the impulse hits to use your phone.

 

The anguished words of a weeping young man in Herzog’s film pretty much say it all: “Do you know how selfish it was of me to make that decision to text and drive? Knowing every day that you killed two people is one of the hardest things that you can live with….I put my phone away, and I save those two men’s lives. It’s that simple….And it’s that easy for you going forward to save someone’s life.”

 

As much as we appreciate our SOTG panelists’ engagement – which typically generates a 25% response rate within an hour of receiving a survey notification, and 50% within a day – it’s crucial that all of them, and all of us, realize that responding to a survey push-notification or doing any other task on a phone is a no-go when you’re behind the wheel.