The website DailyWireless has a page of good information on distracted driving. Check it out. Here are the opening paragraphs:
Cases involving distracted driving having risen sharply over the past two decades. In 2018, around 400,000 injuries and more than 2,800 fatalities were caused in the US due to drivers being distracted. While there are other forms of distraction, including eating and drinking, the use of handheld devices to talk, text, or navigate, is the most common reason drivers take their eyes and mind off the road.
Over the years, tougher laws and penalties have been put in place to deter people from distracted driving. What’s more, technology has improved such that devices themselves can help users avoid things like texting and entering navigation instructions while driving.
In this post, we discuss more statistics surrounding distracted driving, the laws in place, and some tips to help ensure you stay safe on the road.
Distracted driving facts and statistics
According to the US Department of Transportation, there are three types of distracted driving: visual, manual, and cognitive.
- A visual distraction is something that causes you to look away from the road.
- Manual refers to taking your hands off the steering wheel.
- Cognitive distractions are those that involve something that causes you to lose focus on the task of driving.
Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving because it hits on all three types of distractions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sending or reading text messages forces you to stop looking at the road for around five seconds. Driving at 55 mph, you can go the length of a football field within this time.
Here are some more important facts and statistics surrounding distracted driving:
- The 2,841 people killed in 2018 in the US due to distracted driving included more than 1,700 drivers, over 600 passengers, 400 pedestrians, and 77 cyclists. (Source: NHTSA, 2018)
- More than 15 percent of drivers aged 18–24 admit to texting while driving. (Source: The Zebra, 2020)
- One-fifth of young drivers claim to not be at all familiar with their state’s laws regarding texting while driving. (Source: The Zebra, 2020)
- 21 percent of teen drivers who were involved in a car accident were driving distractedly due to cell phone use. (Source: Carsurance, 2020)
- Having one additional passenger in the car doubles the probability of a teen driver being involved in a fatal accident. (Source: Carsurance, 2020)
- Women are more likely to text and drive than men. (Source: Carsurance, 2020)
- In the US, distracted driving causes around nine fatalities per day. (Source: Carsurance, 2020)
- A crash takes an average of three seconds to occur once a driver has been distracted. (Source: Carsurance, 2020)
- Texting while driving increases the risk of a crash by 20 times (Source: Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, 2009)
Note that it’s difficult to collect accurate data with respect to the true number of cases of distracted driving. This is largely due to the fact that many drivers conceal device use, such that it can’t be detected by law enforcement officers. What’s more, due to privacy laws, it’s difficult for law enforcement to gather phone records or other data that could prove someone was using a device at the time of an accident.