Use of the telephone while driving was once again singled out in 2021. As part of their annual TSICA study (for “telephone and information systems while driving”), the MAIF Foundation and the Gustave Eiffel University (77 ) including Ifsttar surveyed 2,136 people online from August 30 to September 27, 2021.
Phone while driving 2021, use related to age and distance traveled
“The proportion of drivers who use their phone while driving has not stopped increasing in 2021. And this, despite a significant decrease in driving during the health crisis”, notes Marie-Pierre Bruyas, researcher at Gustave University Eiffel. Thus, just over half of drivers still used their phone while driving in 2021. The rate was 43% in 2017, 46% in 2018, and 49% in 2019. Age-related use since 64% of under 45s said they use their phone while driving. And this use intensifies with the kilometers traveled (57% of those who travel more than 15,000 km per year).
If these trends particularly affected professionals in 2019, this was less the case in 2021. And the telephone is not the only screen used in vehicles. In fact, 82% of respondents said they used a screen while driving, GPS, telephone, professional screen or a tablet.
Multiple features used while driving
More generally, in 2021, 47% of drivers used their phone to converse, compared to 43% in 2019. Similarly, 38% of drivers received messages while driving (36% in 2019). And 32% sent written messages like text messages and emails (28% in 2019). Researchers also point out that sending and receiving messages depends on age. They mainly concern people under 45, including more than half of drivers aged 25-34.
In addition, nearly a quarter of drivers received complex messages. These are messages accompanied by photos and/or videos or exchanged with several interlocutors at the same time. On the other hand, the number of drivers surfing the internet, taking photos or playing while driving seems to have stabilized or even decreased. But these disruptive practices for driving remain very much in the minority. Indeed, only 15% of respondents say they have gone on the internet while driving. Those most concerned: those under 45 and those who travel more than 15,000 km per year.
The integrated hands-free kit for safer use
“While there are even more of those who use the most complex functions of their telephone, a better knowledge of their telephone sometimes enables them to use it a little less dangerously, thanks to the hands-free functions” observes Marie-Pierre Bruyas. The survey reveals a certain awareness of the risk on the part of the drivers questioned. Those who do not use the phone while driving consider this risk to be very high and the same whatever the use of the telephone. For those who call while driving, handling your phone is more risky than carrying on a conversation.
In addition, three-quarters of drivers said they at least occasionally use an integrated hands-free kit (KML), which is better designed for use while driving. More than half of them did so systematically. Fewer people under 25 in 2021 used an integrated KML (only a third systematically) and preferred a nomadic KML. It is the oldest and those who ride the most who have used an integrated KML the most.
Regarding written messages, they are still mostly read, but the number of drivers who listen to them has increased significantly in 2021 (41% against 26%). Ditto for those who dictate them (42% in 2021 against 32% in 2019). The researchers also note the increase in the use of voice commands by drivers.
Phone instead of GPS
According to the 2021 barometer, the telephone is increasingly used by drivers to guide themselves. Fewer and fewer of them use a mobile or integrated GPS: from 75% in 2018, they have fallen to 51% in 2021. Thus, the telephone is used more for navigation. The researchers find that the use of the integrated GPS is highly dependent on the distance travelled, linked to the level of vehicle equipment. And the youngest, less well equipped, use the nomadic GPS.
More restrictive legislation rather well accepted
Age and kilometers traveled are not the only factors that determine phone use while driving. The survey also points to phone addiction, a taste for technology, the ease with which people handle their phone or the usefulness they give it. Those who do not use their phone while driving stand out by declaring that they are more respectful of the highway code and more receptive to road safety campaigns on the dangers of using a phone while driving. They find it useless and complicated to use while driving and do not feel so pressured by those around them to use it.
Finally, the barometer reveals that the ban on hand-held telephones since May 2020 finally seems to be rather well accepted, even by those who use it while driving. Without approving all the same a total prohibition of the telephone while driving.