Everyone is Lying About Texting and Driving

I just finished a run in my neighborhood. Took about 70 minutes. To pass the time, I decided to keep track of how many drivers I ran by that were texting and driving. Based on my very professional, scientific results, I have concluded that basically everyone is spending a large portion of their drives texting.

Experimental methodology

I kept track of three numbers during my run:

  1. How many people were texting
  2. How many people I passed total
  3. How many people were doing something critical when I passed

I didn’t count anyone if I couldn’t see inside the windshield or if I was too distracted to look. And by critical, I mean the driver was doing something that would be absolutely suicidal to text during, like taking a fast corner in traffic. And everyone I counted for #1 was full-on, eyes down, engrossed in a text. No glances. So here’s what I got.

An idiot, being an idiot, texting and driving
This person is an idiot


  1. 13 drivers texting
  2. 114 drivers observed
  3. 13 drivers doing something too dangerous to text

So, if you subtract the drivers engaged in critical activities, 13% of drivers I ran by were texting and driving during non-critical driving.


Let’s think about what this means. Here are some scenarios that could lead to results like this:

  1. 13% of drivers spend 100% of their road time engrossed in Russian novels on their phone.
  2. 26% of drivers spend half of their road time playing Angry Birds. Poorly.
  3. All drivers spend about 13% of their road time swiping Tinder for true love.

These scenarios are all pretty terrible. Also, everyone I know complains about texting and driving, but these numbers are telling me that most of you are lying about not doing it yourself.

Final notes

About half of my running route today was through neighborhoods where kids are out. About a mile of it was in a school zone with the school zone lights activated. On about a third of my runs of one hour or longer, I get bumped by a car in a crosswalk.

One of the 13 “too dangerous to text” exclusions was actually texting. It was a high speed corner, in rush hour traffic. Head fully buried. I almost excluded him from all three counts, simply because I’m assuming he will be dead by the time this publishes.

It’s possible that a few of my texters were actually just looking down at the speedometer or something. But it shouldn’t be consequential to my 13% calculation. If, during an hour ride, a driver looks down at the speedo / radio / AC once every minute for half a second, that’s thirty seconds per hour, or 1 out of 120 drivers per hour “honestly” looking down. So maybe my first number should be 12 instead of 13, no big deal. And if you’re looking down more or longer than that, you’re distracted.

Wait, this post had nothing to do with financial advice


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