Distracted Driving Accident Statistics

Distracted Driving Accident Statistics

Despite the fact that distracted driving collisions are entirely preventable, they remain the fourth leading cause of nonfatal injuries, as well as the second leading cause of death for adolescents. According to accident statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 400,000 people were injured in distracted driving accidents in 2018. In addition, experts estimate that each day, 8 lives are claimed in distracted driving accidents.

Distracted Driving Accident Statistics

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 1 in 10 fatal car accidents is caused by distracted driving and that distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives in 2019. Some experts believe that those numbers may be even higher; it is sometimes difficult to determine pre-crash distractions after the collision has occurred, and self-reporting negative behavior is often much lower than how often it actually occurs.

The NHTSA found that about 66% of passengers would feel “somewhat” or “very” unsafe if they were in a vehicle where the driver was holding and talking on a cellphone, texting, or reading emails while driving. However, a survey from the AAA Foundation found that 67% of passengers admitted to frequently engaging in these risky behaviors while driving themselves, and research from Cambridge Mobile Telematics shows that nationwide, Americans drove distracted on 36% of trips.

Three Major Types of Distractions

Any factor that takes your attention away from the road can be considered a distraction, and can therefore endanger you and those around you. Distractions fall under three main categories:

Visual Distractions:

These are distractions that take your eyes off of the road. They can include looking for things inside the car, reading or sending text messages, browsing a playlist, or looking around instead of looking at the road ahead. If a driver takes their eyes off the road for 5 seconds while driving 55 miles per hour, they will have driven the length of a football field without paying attention to the road.

Manual Distractions:

Manual distractions are distractions that take your hands off the wheel. These can include eating and drinking while driving, adjusting temperature settings in the car, searching through a handbag, and smoking. Taking your hands off the wheel for even a second can cause you to veer off the road, and can lead to a slower reaction time in the event of an emergency.

Cognitive Distractions:

These are distractions that involve taking your mind off of the task of driving. Cognitive or mental distractions can include dwelling over a recent conversation, stressing about a job interview, mentally preparing for your day, and anything in between. When a driver is thinking about other things, they can lose focus on the road ahead, which can cause a distracted driving accident.

Who is Most Likely to Engage in Distracted Driving?

Statistics show that younger drivers are more likely to be involved in a distracted driving accident. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that per miles driven, drivers within the 16-19 age group are four times as likely to be involved in a car accident and three times more likely to be involved in a car accident that results in a fatality than drivers aged 20 and above. A survey of high school students done in 2019 found that almost 40% of high school students who had driven in the last 30 days admitted to having texted or emailed while driving. In addition, students who admitted to texting and driving were also more likely to not wear their seatbelts, ride with a drunk driver, or drive under the influence themselves.

In addition to being less experienced and cautious than older drivers, distracted driving accident statistics show that adolescents are also more likely to engage in transportation risk behaviors and be distracted than older drivers. The CDC reported that 25% of distracted drivers involved in distracted driving car accidents with at least one fatality were between the ages of 20 and 29, and 9% of all teen motor vehicle accident fatalities in 2018 were due to distraction-affected car accidents or involved distracted driving.

That said, younger drivers are not the only ones engaging in these risky behaviors. A study done by the AAA Foundation surveying drivers aged 65 and older found that nearly 60% of them admitted to having used their cellphones in some capacity while behind the wheel, and 25% of older drivers had used their cellphones while a minor was in the vehicle. In addition, the NHTSA found that drivers ages 60 and up were responsible for close to 1 in 5 distracted driving accidents resulting in a fatality.

What to Do If You Were Injured by a Distracted Driver

If you were injured due to someone else’s reckless driving decisions, visit your doctor to get your injuries evaluated. Then, contact our Distracted Driver Attorneys to set up a free consultation. We have been representing people injured in car accidents for over 25 years, and we can help you too. Give us a call at 713-224-9000, or fill out our contact form here.