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Are drivers more likely to text when cruise control is on?

On behalf of Cohn Lifland Pearlman Herrmann & Knopf LLP | Jul 16, 2018 |

Distracted driving can cause serious injuries and deaths out on New Jersey’s roads. One common source of distraction for drivers in today’s world is the smartphone. So, how likely motorists are to use their phone for texting or similar activities while driving is a significant safety issue. A recent study indicates that drivers may be more likely to engage in this type of distracted driving when they are using cruise control.

The study reviewed data coming from 270 million vehicle trips. The study found texting, app-checking and emailing while driving to be 22 percent more common among drivers using cruise control than among drivers not using this automated system. According to the study, drivers who had cruise control on engaged in these cellphone-related distractions a little over 10 percent of the time. As a note, the study did not distinguish between traditional cruise control systems and more advanced ones, like adoptive cruise control.

One reason these findings are alarming is the greater role automation is playing in cars these days. Cruise control is one of the more basic automated systems cars have. However, in recent years, vehicles have been getting more and more advanced automated systems, like lane-keeping assist. And it seems likely this trend will continue.

Might people be more likely to text-and-drive while using cruise control because they think they do not have to pay as close of attention to driving while this automated system is on? And, if so, might these thoughts be as likely, or even more likely, when drivers use more advanced automated systems? These are important questions to consider given current trends in automobile automation, and one wonders what insights future research will reveal on these topics.

Whether a driver is using automated systems like cruise control or not, distracted driving is dangerous. Car accident victims who believe their crash came about due to a distracted driver should call Cohn Lifland to discuss their legal options.