Even though there have been fewer cars in the streets last year, it seems like distracted driving statistics haven’t improved notably compared to the previous years.
Nonetheless, we should all be aware of the consequences of distracted driving. Instead of ignoring this problem, we should focus on minimizing distractions on the road, now more than ever, with the crowded hospitals worldwide. This way, we will show appreciation to the tireless medical staff across the globe.
Keep reading to stay informed about the latest stats concerning distracted driving.
Top 8 Distracted Driving Statistics (Editor’s Choice)
- Around 3,000 people die every year in crashes involving a distracted driver.
- Young adults cause 25% of the accidents that involve a distracted driver.
- One in five victims who died in a crash accident wasn’t in a vehicle.
- Using a phone while driving is the leading cause of distracted driving.
- Eleven teens are killed every day due to texting and driving.
- One in every four car accidents in the US happens due to texting and driving.
- 60% of respondents admit that they use GPS while driving.
- Texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than drunk driving.
General Distracted Driving Statistics
The first step towards reducing and hopefully eliminating distracted driving is getting into the matter, familiarizing with stats, and apprehending such behavior’s consequences.
1. There are three main categories of distracted driving.
In general, everything that takes your attention off the road and driving is a possible distraction, whether physical or mental (verbal, visual, etc.). Still, here are the three main types of distracted driving:
- Visual distraction – anything that makes you take your eyes off the road.
- Manual distraction – a stimulus that makes you take your hands off the steering wheel.
- Cognitive distraction – taking your mind off driving (it can be caused by a stimulus from the driver’s environment, or the driver can wander off in their thoughts).
2. Around 3,000 people die every year in crashes involving a distracted driver.
In general, about 3,000 people die every year in crashes that involve a distracted driver. For example, NHTSA distracted driving stats revealed that in 2019, 3,142 people passed away. In 2018, in the US only, over 2,800 people lost their lives in car accidents involving a distracted driver. Besides that, around 400,000 people were injured the same way.
3. 5% of fatal crashes occur because the driver was distracted at the time of the crash.
Besides, 8% of fatalities occurred because the distracted driver was a teenager aged 15 to 19. This age group is the riskiest one when it comes to deaths as a result of distracted driving. Stay with us to find out more about teen distracted driving statistics.
4. Young adults cause 25% of the accidents that involve a distracted driver.
Statistics from 2018 showed that a fourth of distracted drivers who caused a crash are young adults aged from 20 to 29 years. Furthermore, 15 to 19-year-old drivers are even more likely to be distracted than young adult drivers. Therefore, they are in the riskiest age range.
5. One in five victims who died in a crash accident wasn’t in a vehicle.
Driver distractions statistics indicate that in 2018, one in every five people who lost their lives in accidents involving a distracted driver wasn’t even in a vehicle. Instead, they were pedestrians, riding their bikes or something else. This issue should be emphasized in public more often, considering that most research focuses on traffic participants as primary victims of distracted driving while neglecting victims outside the vehicles.
Cell Phone Use While Driving Statistics
Cell phone use while driving is the primary source of distracted driving. This way, technology is, in a way, taking the lives of people who (mis)use it.
6. There are three ways of using electronic devices while driving.
As stated by the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS), three types of devices are used while driving.
- Drivers ‘holding phones to their ears’—stats on distracted driving indicate that this practice is more common among women than men. Also, young drivers aged from 15 to 24 years are more likely to hold their phones to their ears than the other age categories.
- Drivers ‘speaking with visible headsets on’.
- Drivers ‘visibly manipulating handheld devices’. This type of misuse is also the most common among people aged between 15 and 24.
7. Using a phone while driving is the leading cause of distracted driving.
Distracted driving facts reveal that two leading causes of distraction are talking and texting while driving. As estimated, 26% of all accidents involve cell phones. Using GPS takes second place when it comes to causes of distracted driving. The third is adjusting music and car controls.
Other causes include applying makeup, wandering off, handling children or pets in the vehicle, talking to passengers, etc.
8. 14% of fatal crashes involved using cell phones while driving.
In addition, 9% of all fatal crashes involve texting and driving. Later on, we will talk specifically about texting and driving facts.
9. 7% of all drivers admit to using their phones at any time while driving.
This type of behavior leads, of course, to a large number of accidents and fatalities. For example, there were 1.5 million crashes in the US in 2017 that involved a driver using a phone while driving.
In addition, of course, the financial damage is enormous—15% of the overall damage caused by crashes is connected to mobile devices. To illustrate, drivers who drive and use their mobile devices cause societal damage of 129$ billion annually.
Teenage Distracted Driving Statistics
Unfortunately, teenagers are the most endangered when it comes to distracted driving. Surveys show that people of this age tend to show riskier behavior in traffic than the other age groups. So firstly, let’s make straightforward what the syntagm ‘teen driver’ implies—it is a person with a valid state license, aged 15 to 18 years.
10. 11 teens are killed every day due to texting and driving.
In the US only, 11 teenagers die every day as a result of driving and texting. This indicates that over 3,000 teens are killed annually due to texting and driving. It is actually the leading cause of teen deaths in the US. This type of behavior takes more teen’s lives than mass school shootings, as texting while driving statistics demonstrate. On average, less than one person (both children and adults) dies from mass shootings every day.
11. 39% of high school students text or email while driving.
A study conducted in 2019 showed that 39% of US high school students texted or emailed while driving at least once in the last 30 days. Still, this habit is more common among older students.
Also, it is more frequent among white than black or Hispanic students.
12. Students who text and drive are more likely to report other risky behaviors.
Statistics on distracted driving show that students who email or text while driving are more likely to report other types of risk behavior in transport. This includes not wearing a seat belt, driving under the influence of alcohol, riding with a person who previously consumed alcohol, etc.
In addition, texting and emailing while driving is more frequent among the ‘good graders’—students who mainly gain As or Bs instead of lower grades.
13. Teens are more likely to show risky behaviors when accompanied by another teenager.
NHTSA distracted driving statistics indicate that most teens are distracted by the passenger in the vehicle, especially if they are close to their age. The same study proved that teen drivers are 2,5 times more likely to report risky behavior while driving if accompanied by another teenager.
The risk goes up proportionally to the number of passengers. For example, a teen driver is three times more likely to engage in risky traffic behavior if accompanied by multiple passengers.
Texting and Driving Statistics
When texting, you are visually, manually, and cognitively diverted from driving. Therefore, all three main types of distractions are involved. This makes texting and driving the main cause of distracted driving.
14. When texting, the driver takes their eyes off the road for five seconds.
This doesn’t sound alarming, right? Let’s illustrate. When driving at 55 mph, taking your eyes off the road for only five seconds is the equivalent of driving a whole football field with closed eyes. Texting and driving statistics (that are pretty dismal) make more sense now?
15. One in every four car accidents in the US happens due to texting and driving.
Nearly 390,000 traffic injuries happen every year because of texting while driving. It is way more dangerous than any other activity that includes a cell phone. Nonetheless, you are 400% more likely to cause an accident when driving and texting.
16. Apple users are more likely to be distracted while driving.
A study conducted at the beginning of 2021 showed a drop in distracted driving cases compared to distracted driving statistics 2020. Still, it is only the beginning of the year, which we all expected due to the lower number of vehicles on the road. Still, there is a 13.7% increase in cell phone usage while driving among Apple users.
Strange enough, there has been a 2.7% decrease among Android users compared to the last year. This study proves how complicated and confusing statistics can sometimes be. In conclusion, texting and driving death stats revealed a drop in recorded cases, even though the number of drivers using mobile devices has increased in the last few years.
17. 94% of drivers support banning texting and driving.
Even though many drivers admit that they use their cell phones while driving, most of them support the idea of prohibiting texting while driving. At the same time, up to 74% of drivers support banning the usage of all hand-held mobile devices, as facts about distracted driving indicate.
18. 60% of respondents admit that they use GPS while driving.
Even though it might not seem that way, using GPS while driving can be as dangerous as texting. It is still a distraction from the driver’s attention. Unfortunately, only 7% of respondents who use GPS while driving state that they believe it is more dangerous than texting.
Distracted Driving vs. Drunk Driving Statistics
The majority of people believe that drunk driving is the most destructive behavior in traffic. Still, research results are completely opposite to the standard view.
19. Texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than drunk driving.
As opposed to the general opinion, statistics have shown that texting while driving is way more dangerous than driving under the impact of alcohol. (As we have already underlined, multiple types, texting, and driving, is the leading factor for distracted driving deaths.
20. Using a phone while driving creates the same amount of distraction as 0.08% of alcohol.
Using a phone and driving distracts the driver and delays their reaction in case of danger in the same measure as having the legal federal amount of alcohol in the blood, which is 0.08%. We should ask ourselves how the level of distraction is the same, yet texting and driving deaths are much more common than fatalities caused by excessive alcohol consumption.
21. 48% of respondents believe that driving under the influence of alcohol is more dangerous than texting and driving.
The same number of respondents (48%) claim that they consider driving while intoxicated to be just as dangerous as driving and texting. This proves that the awareness of texting while driving dangers is on the rise.
22. Men are more likely to drink and drive.
Statistics about distracted driving indicate that women are more likely to text and drive, while men are about four times more likely to drink and drive.
How to Prevent Distracted Driving
In the end, all we can do is try to improve ourselves to lower the number of distracted driving accidents. Thus, we’ve created a short manual on preventing distracted driving, using Centers for Disease and Control Protection advice on the subject.
As a Driver
Put an end to multitasking while driving. Nothing is worth risking your life and the lives of your passengers. So, forget about that quick text that ‘will only take a second,’ adjusting your mirror, having a bite… Even though eating while driving statistics for 2021 are bright since the decrease of 4.2% compared to last year, it is still one of the most frequent distractions.
As a Passenger
If you notice that the driver is getting distracted, speak up to them. Of course, try not to create any distractions yourself. Keep in mind that drivers’ attention (especially if they are young) can be diverted by loud music or sudden sounds. Most states have a law that limits the number of passengers if the driver is a teenager. Of course, no such laws refer to adult drivers; thus, safety is partly a passenger’s responsibility.
As a Parent
Communication is the key in educating your children—talk to them about all the dangers of distracted driving. Be familiar with the state’s laws and guidelines for young drivers. Try to bring them closer to your driving teenager and keep them informed about distracted driving accident statistics.
Distracted driving is a major cause of car accidents in the US. Thus, we must stay informed about the issue. Our primary goal in 2021 should be to educate our children, given that teenagers are the age group that is most involved in distracted driving fatalities. This is the only way to lower the number of crash cases involving a distracted driver.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many People Die from Distracted Driving?
On average, around 3,000 people die every year in crashes that involve a distracted driver. These stats have been relatively invariable in the last years. For example, in 2019, 3,142 people lost their lives due to distracted driving in the US. However, the numbers in 2018 were somewhat more optimistic. That year, there were more than 2,800 fatalities, while about 400,000 people were injured.
What Percentage of Accidents Are Caused by Distracted Drivers?
Overall, 5% of all fatal accidents occur because of distracted drivers. Besides, up to 8% of fatalities come as a result of a distracted teen driver. Young adults are participants in 25% of the accidents that involve a distracted driver, while teenagers are even more likely to get distracted. As much as 14% of fatal crashes include using cell phones while driving. Not only that, but 9% of casualties happen because of driving and texting.
Has Distracted Driving Increased?
No, the number of cases that include distracted driving seems to be somewhat unchanged over the last years. Still, there are some indicators (and hope) that the numbers will start to drop. For example, the number of recorded cases of eating while driving has been on a decline. In addition, there is an increase in the figures for drivers who use cell phones. Still, the number of deaths caused by texting and driving has been decreasing.
What Is the Number One Cause of Distracted Driving?
The leading cause of distracted driving is using a phone. The number one cause of death involving a distracted driver is driving and texting. Surprisingly for many, GPS takes second place. The third common reason for distracted driving is adjusting car controls and music, followed by other causes, such as eating, applying makeup, handling children and pets, talking with passengers, wandering off, etc.
What Age Group Is Most Distracted While Driving?
Even though the statistics indicate that young adults (aged 20 to 29) participate in 25% of distracted driving cases, teenagers (aged 15 to 19) are known to get distracted more often. They are responsible for up to 8% of annual death cases caused by distracted driving. Unfortunately, up to 39% of high school students admit to texting or emailing while driving.
How Many Deaths a Year Are Caused by Texting and Driving?
Almost 390,000 traffic injuries happen every year as a result of texting while driving. To put numbers in perspective, one in every four car crashes occurs because the driver was texting at the time of the accident. Multiple studies have shown that a person is 400% more likely to cause an accident when driving and texting. Unfortunately, up to 7% of drivers admit to using their phones while driving.
How Many Teens Die a Day from Texting and Driving?
Every day, 11 teenagers die in the US as a result of driving and texting. It is the leading cause of teen deaths in the US. Over 3,000 teenagers lose their lives every year because of texting and driving. This type of behavior in traffic kills more teens than mass school shootings. For example, nearly one person (including children and adults) dies daily as a victim of mass shootings, compared to the above-stated 11 perished teens. It seems like distracted driving statistics are rather severe and defeating when it comes to our children’s lives.