Total accidents (blue), smartphone ownership (orange). Sources: Insurance Information Institute, National Safety Council, Pew Research, Motus LLCTotal accidents (blue), smartphone ownership (orange). Sources: Insurance Information Institute, National Safety Council, Pew Research, Motus LLC

It might come as no surprise that the increase in smartphone ownership in the growing U.S. mobile workforce has coincided with a parallel increase in accident rates. Research conducted by Motus, a vehicle management and reimbursement platform, shows that as smartphone ownership jumped from 55% in 2013 to 77% in 2017, the number of accidents escalated from 5.7 million to 6.4 million — an increase of 12.3%.

According to the 2018 Distracted Driving Report, mobile workers take 49% more trips behind the wheel than any other type of employee. When employees are involved in crashes, employers pay a high price in terms of medical costs, property damage, lost work days, crash-related legal expenses and lost productivity. Phone distraction is estimated to cost employers about $1,680 per grey fleet mobile worker.

While phone use during morning and evening commutes is common, phone use while driving is at its highest from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., when the mobile workforce is on the move. Americans drove a total of 107 billion phone-distracted miles in 2017, indicating that phone-related distraction is a growing problem beyond the mobile workforce.

To contact the author of this article, email shimmelstein@globalspec.com