A new report shows distracted driving is a growing problem along a section of one of America’s most heavily travelled routes.

In a second annual report on distracted drivers on Interstate 95 in Northern Virginia, the number of frequent I-95 drivers likely to use their cell phone while driving has increased from 56% in 2013 to 62% this year. 

The report is from the motorist group AAA Mid-Atlantic, along with two companies involved in a construction project in Northern Virginia. It is based on a survey of 1,023 drivers who live in the area and frequently travel the route.

It also found the number of distracted drivers on I-95 who have had a traffic incident or near-miss as a result of their behavior has increased from 24% in 2013 to 31% in 2014.

Fifty-four percent of all distracted drivers on I-95 say they are at least occasionally responding to a work-related issue. These responders are 10% more likely than non-work responders to have an incident or near miss behind the wheel, according to the study. It also found work responders are also more likely than non-work responders to read texts, write texts and read/respond to emails. 

The top reasons distracted drivers respond to work-related issues on I-95 include:

  • The belief that an immediate response is expected, at 31%,
  • The desire to multitask/save time, at 27%,
  • The need to check that the issue is not an emergency, at 17%.

Just 18% of area drivers say their employer has a policy regarding the use of cell phones while driving.

Despite major construction activities along I-95 in Northern Virginia, just 18% of I-95 drivers have specifically opted to not read or write texts or emails in the I-95 construction zone. Only 11% say that they no longer talk on a cell phone in the construction zone.