Chicago Has The Most Talkative Drivers In The U.S

As drivers on their phones are targeted by advertisers and legislators alike, understanding the priorities and behavior of these drivers is crucial to improve the safety of everyone on the road. Though states continue to pass laws limiting phone usage in vehicles, drivers remain intent on staying connected while driving.

As previous Drivemode studies have focused on messaging frequency and app usage of drivers in the U.S., the purpose of this study was to determine national and regional calling trends to see how phone calls were impacting a person’s drive. Drivemode analyzed over 96K anonymized calls made in 2018 by drivers in major U.S. cities. To eliminate outlier data, calls included in this study had a duration between one second and sixty minutes.

Irrespective of how long or far a person was driving, the average length of a phone call among U.S. drivers in 2018 was 6 minutes and 4 seconds (6:04). Drivers in Chicago, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Atlanta, San Diego and New York City all exceeded the national average. For further insight into those longer calls made by drivers, Drivemode analyzed how many calls were ten minutes or longer. Of the calls made in 2018 by drivers nationally, 18.82% of the calls were ten minutes or longer. Drivers in Chicago, St. Louis, Philadelphia and Atlanta (which also averaged the longest calls overall) had the most calls that exceeded ten minutes in duration.

While driving, Chicagoans talk 10.99% longer than the rest of the country and 22.57% of their calls are over ten minutes long. Around 20% of drivers’ calls in St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Atlanta are also over ten minutes long.

“When one out of five calls is longer than ten minutes, we see that staying connected is a priority for drivers in these cities. Learning how drivers spend their time in the car can inform and impact local legislation, advertising, even infrastructure,” said Yo Koga, co-founder and CEO of Drivemode. “The drivers in our study are calling safely— hands-free and voice activated. But the data signals behavioral trends that can extend to larger populations, indicating how significant phone calling is for drivers in certain cities.”   

RankCityAverage call durationCall duration compared to national averagePercentage of calls over 10 minutes long
1Chicago6:4910.99% longer22.57%
2St. Louis6:398.84% longer21.90%
3Philadelphia6:316.98% longer20.93%
4Atlanta6:122.15% longer20.26%
5San Diego6:101.51% longer18.12%
6New York City6:060.50% longer19.02%
7San Francisco5:513.58% shorter17.98%
8Seattle5:484.54% shorter18.51%
9Tampa5:416.74% shorter19.45%
10Houston5:397.27% shorter17.89%
11Dallas5:368.30% shorter17.31%
12Denver5:348.81% shorter17.96%
13Miami5:339.50% shorter17.82%
14Los Angeles5:2910.61% shorter16.64%
15Phoenix5:1316.09% shorter15.75%
16Detroit5:1216.72% shorter15.30%
17Boston5:0619.08% shorter15.88%
18Minneapolis4:5125.04% shorter13.79%


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