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30+ Distracted Driving Facts and Statistics to Know in 2023


It might surprise you to learn that distracted driving is a big problem on today’s highways and roads. In 2021, for example, it claimed the lives of 3,522 people

So many of us have become apathetic when it comes to driving that we thought it deserved a special post that highlighted distracted driving statistics. If we can save just one person this year, the time and effort it took to write this post would have been worth it. 

Before we share some astonishing facts about distracted driving, let’s explain what distracted driving is. 

What is distracted driving?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “distracted driving is doing another activity that takes the driver’s attention away from driving”

Read the following distracted drivers statistics and you’ll appreciate how it increases the chance of a motor vehicle crash. 

The different types of distracted driving

There are three kinds of distracted driving: Visual, manual, and cognitive distractions.

Visual distractions

These are distractions that cause you to take your eyes off the road. They include things like billboards, using a GPS, rubbernecking an accident, looking at other cars on the road rather than those directly in your path or surrounding you, or checking out the scenery passing by. 

Manual distractions

These are distractions that cause you to take one or both of your hands off the steering wheel. They include eating whilst driving, changing the radio station, using your phone, or reaching for something in your car. 

Cognitive distractions   

These are distractions that take your mind off driving. They include talking, daydreaming, singing, or worrying about something. 

30+ Distracted driving facts and statistics

Now it’s time to share some distracted driver statistics and facts. They clearly illustrate how dangerous it can be when your focus is taken away from driving. 

General distracted driving statistics

  • Approximately 3,000 people die every year in car accidents that are the result of distracted drivers.
  • Between 8% and 9% of all fatal motor vehicle collisions on US roads are caused by distracted drivers.
  • In 2020, there were 396 fatalities in which a cell phone was being used when the crash occurred.
  • Every day, 9 people die in the US from distracted driving.
  • In 2020, 587 cyclists and pedestrians were killed in distracted driving automobile accidents.
  • On average, drivers spend 1.38 minutes on their phones every hour that they’re driving.
  • Most distracted driving takes place between 6 and 11 pm.
  • Drivers tend to be more focused during their morning commute and are only distracted for an average of 1.04 minutes per hour of driving, compared to 1.56 minutes between 6 and 11 pm.
  • According to the National Traffic Safety Administration, phone use is involved in 12% of all car accidents on US roads. 
  • If you take your eyes off the road for 5 seconds while traveling at 55 mph, it’s the equivalent of traveling the length of a football pitch without looking.
  • In 2019, around 424,000 people were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. 
  • 80% of drivers confess to all manners of distracted driving such as changing clothes, steering with a knee, shaving, and painting nails.   

Distracted driving over time statistics

  • In the last decade, more than 29,000 people have died because of distracted driving.
  • Since 2016, there has been a decrease of 1% in the number of fatal distracted driving fatalities.

Distracted driving contributing factors

  • Changing the volume and air conditioning in the car accounts for 2% of all traffic casualties from distracted driving.
  • Driving with other people in the car accounts for 5% of traffic fatalities concerning distracted driving.
  • 62% of distracted driving results from drivers losing mental focus on the road.
  • Your attention span on the road decreases by 40% when you listen to music or podcasts in the car.
  • 65% of dog owners admit to tending to their pets while driving.
  • When parents drive with their kids in the car, they take their eyes off the road for an average of 3 minutes and 22 seconds during a 16-minute car journey. 
  • Texting while driving is 6 times as deadly as driving while drunk. 
  • Texting and driving increase the likelihood of an accident by 23 times.   

Distracted driving statistics by age

  • The age group most involved in distracted driving fatal car accidents is 25 to 34-year-olds.
  • 6% of distracted driving fatalities include a young person between the ages of 15 and 19. 
  • Almost half of distracted driving car accidents including a teenager resulted in a teenage fatality in 2020. 
  • In a 2019 survey of US high school students, 39% who drove in the past 30 days texted or emailed while driving on at least one of those days. 
  • Students who texted or emailed while driving were also more likely to not wear a seat belt, ride with a driver who had been drinking alcohol and drive after drinking alcohol. 

Distracted driving and using your phone

The use of cell phones is a leading cause of distraction-related accidents. The following distracted driving statistics will help you understand the impact a cell phone has on driver attention. 

  • 2.5% of drivers hold their phones up to their ears whilst driving, even though most new vehicles offer hands-free phone use.
  • Women are more likely to use their cellphone while driving.
  • The level of cell phone usage while driving has almost halved in the last ten years.
  • People between the age of 16 and 24 are most likely to use their cell phones while driving.
  • When the weather is clear, 2.4% of drivers admit to using their cell phones, but when weather conditions are poor, 3% of drivers admit to using their cell phones.
  • Drivers with small children in their cars are most likely to use their cell phones while driving.   

Distracted driving statistics by state

Distracted driving risks are not the same across the United States. Statistics can vary considerably depending on where you’re located.

  • The state with the highest rate of fatal car accidents that are a result of distracted driving is New Mexico.
  • The state with the lowest rate is Mississippi. 

Distracted driving laws by state

Many states across the US have introduced a variety of distracted driving laws. Some have taken a harder stance on restricting phone use, while others have focused on texting and driving. 

  • 24 US states have banned handheld cell phone use while driving including California, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Nevada, Oregon, New Jersey, and New York. 
  • 48 states have introduced laws that ban texting and driving. 

The good news is that distracted driving is preventable as long as we all make the effort. 

Things we can do to prevent distracted driving

What drivers can do:

What passengers can do:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask the driver to focus on driving rather than having a conversation
  • Reduce distractions by helping with navigation or other tasks.

What parents can do:

  • Talk to your teens or young adults about the responsibilities and rules involved in driving.
  • Know your state’s laws on distracted driving.
  • Set an example for your kids by keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel when driving.

What states are doing:

  • Many states have enacted laws that ban texting while driving, implement hands-free laws, and limit the number of young passengers who can drive with teen drivers.
  • Some states have installed rumble strips on highways. These alert distracted, drowsy, or otherwise inattentive drivers that they’re about to go off the road. 

What the Federal Government is doing:

  • The CDC has developed a Parents Are the Key campaign to help keep teen drivers safe on the road. 
  • In 2022, the US Department of Transportation released a strategy, the National Roadway Safety Strategy, including the introduction of vehicle technology systems that detect distracted driving. 
  • In 2021, Congress provided resources to add distracted driving awareness as part of the driver’s license exams.
  • In 2021, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration banned commercial vehicle drivers from texting while driving.
  • In 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration banned all hand-held cell phone use by commercial drivers. 

If you ever need to book a car shipping service, rest assured we only use carriers who have an excellent track record when it comes to accidents and distracted driving. Every car we ship is treated like it’s one of our own and we do everything we can to ensure it arrives safely and without incident at the final destination. 

Before you drive your car across the country, consider auto transport as a safer and more convenient alternative. It’s also more affordable than you think which you’ll realize when you ask for a quote.

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What is the percentage of distracted drivers?

Almost 80% of crashes and 65% of near-crashes involve some form of distraction. 

What are the 3 behaviors that cause distracted driving?

The primary types of driving distractions are visual, manual, and cognitive. 

What is the biggest culprit of distracted driving?

Talking and texting on cell phones are the most common reason for distracted driving accidents. According to the National Safety Council, 26% of all car crashes involve cell phones. 

What is the biggest culprit of distracted driving?

Cell phones and navigation devices are often the biggest culprits when it comes to distracted driving. 

Why is distracted driving increasing?

Distracted driving is on the increase because of advancements in mobile technology and our increasing reliance on and heavy use of smartphones. 

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