Distracted driving is any non-driving activity that a driver engages in while behind the wheel. According to the most relevant distracted driving statistics, there are typically three distinct types of distracted driving: manual, visual, and cognitive.
With the sole aim of helping readers understand practically everything there is to know about this danger, we’ll be taking a look at some of its most useful and noteworthy statistics and facts. Our goal is to provide greater insight into what getting distracted while driving actually means.
Below is a concise and well-researched rundown of the most important statistics on the subject.
Distracted Driving Stats for 2022 (Editor’s Pick)
- Every year, distracted drivers account for about 2.5 million car crashes worldwide
- In 2019, distracted driving was responsible for 9% of the fatal motor vehicle accidents
- After using a cell phone, the brain needs 13 seconds to refocus
- A whopping 80% of parents admit to giving their toddler a drink when driving
- Drinking and eating while driving accounts for 2% of distracted driving car crashes
- Every day, more than 1,000 people experience injuries due to distracted driving crashes
- In 2019, driving distracted represented 9% of the fatal motor vehicle crashes
- Teens 16–19 have a three-time higher fatal crash rate per mile driven than those over 20
General Stats on Distracted Driving
1. Every year, distracted drivers are responsible for about 2.5 million car crashes globally.
Almost every day, people hear about these crashes all over the world. This is a major problem in society, and for this reason, the public has access to many relevant enlightenment programs and educational services on distracted driving.
2. It takes the brain 13 seconds to refocus after using a cell phone.
Drivers are at a very high risk of crashing when they use their phones. These kinds of driver distractions, the statistics show, can happen even when a driver looks at their device for just a second.
All in all, cell phones are one of the primary reasons people have become so distracted recently.
3. In the United States, about eight people die daily due to car crashes involving a distracted driver.
Distracted driving is becoming a complex issue in our world today, leading to many fatalities across the globe. These US estimates are a huge concern and deserve our attention.
So, if you want to know how to prevent distracted driving, there are several things you can do (or not do). Whether it’s picking the music, making a phone call, adjusting the mirrors, reading an email, or eating a sandwich — don’t do it during your trip, but before.
4. It takes only three seconds for a car crash to occur once the driver has been distracted.
Drivers are known for always exhibiting high levels of concentration whenever they’re behind the wheel. However, these distracted driving facts and statistics show that if a driver’s attention is diverted from the road at all, it only takes a few seconds for a crash to occur.
5. Eight in ten parents confess to handling a drink to their toddler while driving.
(I Drive Safely)
Moreover, somewhere around 78% of parents report giving their toddlers a snack while behind the wheel, according to statistics for distracted driving.
Parents with young children in their car are more likely to be distracted while behind the wheel than adults without. Driving while also keeping the kids in check isn’t only a tough job but also a very dangerous one.
Speaking of distracted parents, a survey finds that 42.2% of Millennial parents read text messages while driving.
6. As per PSA distracted driving statistics, eating and drinking is responsible for 2% of distracted driving car crashes.
All in all, no matter what meal a driver may have missed or how tempting it is to save time by eating or having a coffee in the car, no one should do so while driving, especially when it might lead to a fatal car crash.
7. Dangers of distracted driving statistics show that reaching for an object increases the car crash chances by eight times.
(The Barnes Firm)
People usually do this innocuous act unthinkingly. But research shows just how dangerous it can be. This should serve as enough reason to park or wait until you’re at your destination before attempting to reach for anything.
8. Getting a ticket could raise a driver’s insurance premium by $290 in a year.
(Business Insider, Bluefire Insurance)
Most US drivers have to have car insurance, and that’s easy since there are some great car insurance companies. However, a driver with a ticket is sure to see their insurance rates escalate.
For instance, our distracted driving stats show that general cell phone use will likely lead to a premium increase of up to 19%. In some states, penalties for a distracted driving ticket can raise insurance rates from $87 to as high as $762.
9. Over 1,000 people are injured every day in crashes caused by distracted driving.
Distracted driving is the leading cause of car crashes. In fact, car crashes are fast becoming a menace in our society. Visual, manual, or cognitive distractions can cause these accidents. No matter what, the result is the same.
Types of Distracted Driving vs. Drunk Driving
10. Texting or reading a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for five seconds.
The latest data shows that a driver who texts or reads a text while driving takes their eyes off the road for at least five seconds. If they’re going 55 miles per hour, they’re essentially driving the length of an entire football field blindfolded.
11. Drinking four beers is as bad as texting and driving.
(Davis Law Group)
Today’s cell phone distraction statistics show just how important it is for drivers to keep their cell phones out of reach. Given this, a driver who has drunk four alcoholic drinks is as impaired as one who is texting.
Generally speaking, these drivers are dangerous since their reactions are slower and their judgment is impaired.
12. Texting and driving is six times more likely to lead to a car accident than driving drunk.
Cell phones are fast becoming an integral part of our everyday lives. This also applies to drivers. Namely, cell phone driving statistics have shown that drivers who text and drive are six times more likely to crash than drivers who drive drunk.
This goes a long way toward showing how much harm the presence of cell phones can bring to drivers.
13. In 2020, alcohol-related fatal crashes increased 9% compared to 2019.
That was surprising given that vehicle miles traveled dropped by 13%. Moreover, drunk driving was responsible for about 10,142 fatal crashes in 2019.
The menace of drunk driving is not only incredibly dangerous but a severe crime as well. So while the distracted driving statistics show a great number of crashes, drunk driving remains terrifyingly fatal.
14. As per a survey, around 56% of men and 29% of women have driven after drinking alcohol.
(Value Penguin, Obrella)
That’s no surprise, as the US is the third leading country in the world for drinking alcohol and driving. While approximately 43% of respondents in the United States confessed to drinking and driving, men were more likely to do that than women.
Conversely, according to another survey’s distracted driving statistics from 2021, women tended to text and drive more frequently than men.
15. According to the NHTSA, 660,000 drivers use electronic devices while driving.
With cell phones and other electronic devices playing such a vital role in our lives, it’s inevitable to have one beside you while on the road. However, when using their phones while driving, drivers can miss seeing around 50% of what’s happening around them.
Statistics on Distracted Driving Fatalities
16. Distracted driving was responsible for around 9% of the fatal motor vehicle crashes in 2019.
Moreover, somewhere around 15% of injury crashes that year were defined as distraction-affected crashes. Hopefully, the high number of fatalities due to distracted driving will incentivize people to educate themselves about its dangers.
17. 3,142 people died due to distractions while driving, as per distracted driving statistics for 2019.
A lot of people have lost their lives due to a driver becoming distracted on the road. From a research carried out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of injured people in motor vehicle crashes including distracted drivers reached 424,000 in 2019.
18. From 2016 to 2020, around 168 people lost their lives in distracted driver crashes in Massachusetts.
As per Massachusetts distracted driving statistics, the five-year average of traffic fatalities for 2016–2020 in this state was 353. During that period, fatalities in a crash which included a distracted driver accounted for 9.5% of all traffic fatalities reported.
19. The death rate from distracted driving traffic crashes is on the rise.
With so many forms of distraction out there, the chances of drivers engaging in a non-driving activity and thus having a fatal car accident are rising. This, of course, is due to electronics like GPS devices, cell phones, complicated sound systems, and many others.
Teen Distracted Driving Statistics
20. As per a survey, 39% of US high school students texted or emailed while driving at least once in the last 30 days.
Those students were more likely to engage in other risk behaviors, too. In detail, some of them were riding with a driver who had been drinking, not wearing a seatbelt, and driving after drinking alcohol.
21. Texting and driving statistics note that emailing or texting while driving is more common in White students — 44%.
Moreover, that practice is common among 35% of Hispanic students and 30% of Black students. Also, older students email or text while driving more frequently than younger ones.
As for their grades, texting and emailing while behind the wheel is as common among those with good grades as those with Cs, Ds, or Fs — teenage distracted driving statistics show.
22. Cell phones distract 21% of teen drivers involved in a car accident.
Electronic devices and smartphones are major sources of distraction for all, especially teenage drivers. In fact, a cell phone distracted over a fifth of the teenagers who have had a car accident.
23. In 2020, 2.8% of drivers aged 16–24 used a hand-held phone.
These teenage distracted driving statistics from 2020 verify the danger of driving while distracted among this particular US age demographic.
As a matter of fact, this age group already has the least amount of driving experience on the road, which is why these distractions are so dangerous for them.
24. Teens aged 16–19 have a three-time higher fatal crash rate per mile driven than drivers older than 20.
(Arrive Alive Tour)
Texting and driving death stats find that the youngest drivers are most at risk of these fatal crashes. In fact, 16% of distracted driving crashes include a driver younger than 20. Even though the issue of distracted driving isn’t new, its outcomes keep devastating the nation.
Wrapping It Up
Learning to deal with the danger of distracted driving can turn out to be a bit of a marathon, and distracted driving statistics signify that the issue is rising. Luckily, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has taken great leaps toward fighting against the many risks it poses.
Today, more and more people are being educated on how to avoid driving while distracted safely. The above statistics and facts are the best insights into understanding the real deal behind this pervasive societal problem.
People Also Ask
Every year, there are more and more accidents due to distracted driving. Unfortunately, many of them are fatal. Let’s take the latest data, which is from 2019, into consideration.
We already mentioned that distracted driving was responsible for 9% of the fatal motor vehicle crashes in 2019. Now let’s see the percentage of distracted driving compared to all accidents, not just the fatal ones.
That year, there were 36,096 motor vehicle crashes, with 2,895 of them involving distractions. In other words, distracted driving accounted for around 8% of all motor vehicle crashes.
Even though many states combat texting and driving by passing very strict laws, the issue is still one of the leading causes of car crash fatalities. While there is no official data for 2020, we do know there are around 3,500–5,000 fatalities every year due to texting and driving.
Moreover, this type of distracted driving causes about 400 fatal crashes per year and leads to 390,000 injuries annually in the United States.
There are many distractions while driving, with the most common ones including a cell phone (texting or talking on the phone), using a navigation system, drinking, and eating. However, texting and talking is the most common distraction, leading to many accidents.
As a matter of fact, 13% of car crashes include cell phone use. Moreover, using a phone when driving leads to 1.6 million accidents annually. That should come as a surprise, as 660,000 drivers use their phones while driving at any given moment.
Below, you have the most critical and informative data on distracted driving:
– Every year, there are 2.5 million car crashes involving distracted drivers globally.
– Eight people die every day due to car crashes involving a distracted driver in the United States.
– Distracted driving statistics reveal that it takes three seconds for a car crash to happen after the driver has been distracted.