Older Generations Engage in Distracted Driving Too, Volvo Study Says

This is one problem you can't blame on millennials.

Volvo

It's become fashionable to blame seemingly everything on the millennial generation, and it's often assumed that younger drivers are the least responsible. But a Harris poll conducted on behalf of Volvo shows that older generations also regularly engage in distracted driving.

"Distracted driving is not unique to younger generations. In fact, it's a problem we are seeing across generations and demographics," Jim Nichols of Volvo communications said in a statement.

According to Volvo, members of Generation X are more likely to use their phones while driving than Millennials or members of Generation Z, the youngest of the generations surveyed. Parents were the worst offenders, with 73 percent of respondents admitting to using their phones while driving, compared to 66 percent overall. One in three parents said they used their phones often with their children onboard.

Generation Z appeared to be the most responsible generation. Gen-Z tended to use their phones significantly less than Gen-X and millennials, according to the study. In addition, 89 percent of Gen-Z respondents said they were looking for ways to cut down on distractions, compared to 64 percent overall. The study found that 33 percent of respondents drive in silence to minimize distraction, while 32 percent hit the "do not disturb" button on their phones.

Most Americans acknowledge that distracted driving is a problem, the study said. About half of respondents (55 percent) said they felt distracted driving was the top safety threat on the road, while 51 percent said driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs was the top threat. The majority of respondents (89 percent), said better education on the impact of distracted driving is needed.

In a press release announcing the results of the study, Volvo noted that it has integrated hands-free features such as voice command and Bluetooth for controlling car and phone functions into its cars. But even a hands-free phone conversation forces the driver to take some of their attention away from the road. Increasingly-complex infotainment systems offered by Volvo and other automakers also make it harder to focus on driving, no matter how user friendly car companies claim they are.

It's easy to bemoan the threat of distracted driving, but whether its automakers cramming their cars with an endless array of screens and touchpads, or drivers continuing to futz with their phones behind the wheel, no one seems truly willing to do anything about it.