Drivers Text Most During Afternoon Rush Hours, New Report Says
New Yorkers were the worst offenders.
Afternoon rush hours are the peak times for texting while driving, and New Yorkers text behind the wheel more than any other drivers during those hours, according to new data from app developer Drivemode.
Drivemode markets an app that enables hands-free use of certain phone functions in older cars, and it studied data from users to determine when drivers are using their phones the most. Analysts looked at data from over 177,000 drivers and 6.5 million instances of driver messaging on Drivemode's Android app over the course of one year. Drivemode notes that all drivers studied used voice control or some other form of hands-free interface to message.
The data showed that drivers sent the most messages between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., averaging 6.87 messages per hour at that time. Messaging rates were still fairly high at adjacent times, with an average 6.59 messages per hour between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., 6.29 messages per hour between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., and 6.19 between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Of the 6.5 million messages studied, 22 percent were sent between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., according to Drivemode.
"The difference in messaging behavior between morning and afternoon commutes reveals priorities of drivers during that time," Drivemode CEO and co-founder Yo Koga said in a statement. While drivers may reserve the morning commute for listening to music or news, on the way home they may need to let their families know about traffic delays or errands, or wrap up end-of-the-day work issues, Koga said.
During afternoon rush hours, drivers in 10 states logged a higher message rate than the national average of 6.87 messages per hour. New Yorkers were the worst offenders, averaging 8.21 messages per hour. Hawaii and Florida had the second and third highest rates of messaging, at 7.90 and 7.87 messages per hour, respectively.
Among Drivemode's Android users, standard SMS was the most popular way to message, accounting for 49.8 percent of messaging sessions studied. It was followed by Facebook Messenger (20.7 percent) and WhatsApp (19.4 percent).
"Drivers in our study are messaging safely—hands-free and voice activated. But the data signals a trend that almost certainly extends to the population at large," Drivemode CEO Koga said. "That gives us an indication of the times of day we need to be especially mindful of ensuring everyone's safety on the road." As if we needed another reason to dread rush hour.