1 in 12 plays games behind the wheel – SWOV study on distraction

  • May 19, 2020

A new survey for SWOV, the Dutch Institute for Road Safety Research, has shown that drivers are increasingly playing games while driving: 8.2 percent admitted to sometimes playing games while driving in 2019, up from 3 percent in a 2017 survey.  

70 percent of drivers admitted to using their phone in some way while driving, for example to use navigation or music software.

The survey also looked at mobile phone use by cyclists, finding that young people are more likely to use their device while cycling than adults.  SWOV furthermore notes that the ban on holding a phone in hand while cycling, which entered into force on 1 July 2019, has so far only had a limited effect.

In both cases, SWOV points to a lack of enforcement and a general perception of a low chance of being caught as possible explanations of the trends.   

A report by TRL published in March warned of the potential for distraction of in-car entertainment systems based on mobile operating systems, namely Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.  The TRL research found that driver reaction times while using touch-screen systems were even worse than texting on a mobile device while driving.