A review of police data by Erie Insurance shows that Saturdays in September are the biggest days for fatal car crashes involving daydreaming while driving, and Tuesdays in February are lowest. The company’s previous analysis found that being “generally distracted” or “lost in thought” – otherwise known as daydreaming – is the number-one distraction noted in fatal crashes.
The data is from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), which includes information from police reports on the causes of fatal car crashes. Erie Insurance consulted with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to analyze the data, which is maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
“We released this data to raise awareness of the ongoing need to combat distracted driving in all its forms, whether it’s texting while driving, or simply letting your mind wander behind the wheel,” said Jon Bloom, vice president of personal auto, Erie Insurance. Erie Insurance released the data to promote Distracted Driving Awareness Month which is in April. “No matter what day of the week or what month it is, we urge all drivers at all times to keep their eyes on the road, their hands on the wheel, and their attention on what they are doing.”
The most recent NHTSA data shows 3,166 people were killed in distracted driving crashes in 2017. See NHTSA data here: https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812603
The most recent review of FARS data by Erie Insurance resulted in a ranked list of more than 84 combinations (with some ties) of days and months associated with daydreaming while driving. Below are the top and bottom five during 2013-17.
Top 5 Days/Months for Fatal Daydreaming While Driving Crashes:
1. Saturdays in September
2. Saturdays in May
3. Fridays in October
4. Saturdays in August
5. Fridays in July
Bottom 5 Days/Months for Fatal Daydreaming While Driving Crashes
80. Sundays in December
81. Thursdays in February
82. Mondays in January
83. Wednesdays in February
84. Tuesdays in February
The FARS data is based largely on police officers’ judgment at the time of a crash, and interviews with those involved.
“It’s not clear why people would be more likely to daydream while driving on certain days or in certain months over others,” Bloom says. “Regardless, we think the data is worth sharing if it gets people talking about the serious problem of distracted driving and how to avoid it.”
To help drivers better understand and avoid daydreaming while driving, Erie Insurance previously collaborated with internationally known cognitive behavioral researcher Paul Atchley, Ph.D., who has studied distracted driving and worked with national safety organizations to reduce it. Click here to hear Dr. Atchley explain why people daydream while driving and his tips for how to avoid it.