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What Is Distracted Driving?


According to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system — anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.

Texting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.

While texting and making phone calls are two of the most common forms of distracted driving, they are not the only ones. Other forms of distracted driving include:

  • Eating or drinking
  • Using a GPS device
  • Changing the radio station
  • Talking to other passengers in the car
  • Applying makeup
  • Reading

You cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing. Using a cell phone while driving creates enormous potential for deaths and injuries on U.S. roads. In 2019, 3,142 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. On top of that, approximately 280,000 others will be injured each year due to road distractions.

A study released by EverQuote, Inc, an online insurance firm, used data collected by an app called the EverDrive motion-sensing app. The app records and measures speeding, sudden acceleration, aggressive turning, hard braking, and other vehicle movements while a driving and using a phone.

The study revealed that 92% of the drivers in the United States use their phones while behind the wheel. The average drive time of EverDrive users is 21 minutes, with 88 seconds of that time spent on the phone.

Based on the recordings collected by EverDrive, drivers were given a distracted driving score. To keep data as accurate as possible, movements were not recorded while a driver’s phone was in sleep mode, or while a driver’s phone was in use through a hands-free device.

According to the study’s overall scoring system, Florida ranked as the state with the second highest instances of distracted driving, behind only Louisiana.

Distracted Driving Key Facts

  • 3,142 people were killed by distracted driving in 2019. (NHTSA)
  • 8.7% of all car crash fatalities were due to distracted driving in 2019.
  • 25% of distracted drivers in fatal crashes are between the ages of 20 and 29. (CDC)
  • 48 states and the District of Columbia have cell phone bans to combat distracted driving. 

Distracted Driving Key Statistics 

  • Distracted driving causes about 3,000 deaths per year: 3,142 deaths in 2019, 2,628 deaths in 2018 and 3,003 deaths in 2017, according to the NHTSA.
  • Additionally, distracted driving causes about 280,000 injuries per year: 276,000 injuries in 2018, 285,000 injuries in 2017 and 295,000 injuries in 2016.
  • Lastly, distracted driving causes about 920,000 total accidents per year (including fatalities and injuries): 938,000 accidents in 2018, 912,000 accidents in 2017, and 905,000 accidents in 2016.

As experienced car accident attorneys, we urge drivers to keep their eyes on the road. Apple has introduced their Driving Focus feature with the new iOS 15 update. It is similar to Do Not Disturb, however, Siri can read your messages to you, so you still don’t miss anything. Whether you use a car accident prevention service like this or not, it is important to remember that no text is worth your life. Drive safely.

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