Distracted driving is still problematic

Last week’s article was about “vlogging while driving,” which is certainly a very dangerous thing to do while driving a motor vehicle. Today we will reveal some statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on distracted driving courtesy of Zutobi, an online Driver Education resource focusing on raising awareness on important driving topics and educating safe drivers.

Here are some key findings from the research: Since 2015, the total number of distracted driving crashes resulting in an injury have bounced between 265,000 to 295,000 crashes each year. In 2020 this number has dropped significantly, down to 215,000.

About 8% of crashes with injuries can be attributed to cellphones. Cellphones can be attributed to about 13% of fatal distracted driving crashes.

Men are more than twice as likely to be involved in a fatal distracted driving crash compared to women. Male drivers were distracted in 2125 fatal crashes in 2020, whereas women drivers were only distracted in 781 fatal crashes during the same period.

Distracted driving is defined as driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving. Due to the nature of being less focused on driving, distracted driving will drastically increase the chance of being involved in a motor vehicle crash.

NHTSA divides the most common driver distractions into several categories. These include distractions that happen inside the vehicle (for example, becoming distracted by a passenger in a rear seat) and distractions that occur outside the vehicle (for example, looking at an external object).

Major causes of distracted driving crashes are cellphone use, reaching for moving objects, looking at external objects, applying makeup, eating, and passengers, all distractions that we as drivers think we can handle safely but, we can’t.

For the second year in a row, New Mexico has the most distracted driving in the country, receiving a severity score of 99.98. According to statistics by NHTSA, New Mexico reported 139 distracted driving crashes in 2020. New Mexico reported 10 distracted driving deaths for every 100,000 drivers, and 38% of all fatal crashes in the state were due to distracted driving. With the severity score in parenthesis, the second worst state is Kansas (51.21), followed by Louisiana (50.19), Wyoming (49.8), Kentucky (34.66), Illinois (31.84), New Jersey (30.31), Hawaii (30.25), Washington (29.55), and Virginia (26.42).

Mississippi is the state with the least distracted driving, receiving a severity score of 4.62. Only 1.5% of the state’s fatal crashes were reported to have been due to distracted driving and the state had 0.55 distracted driving deaths per 100,000 drivers. Mississippi was followed by California (5.46), Nevada (6.21), Connecticut (6.69), West Virginia (6.85), Rhode Island (8.01), Iowa (8.47), Georgia (8.65), Arkansas (9.11), and Delaware (9.31).

New York state ranks 19 of the 50 states in America with a severity score of 20.49.

You can view the full study at https://zutobi.com/us/driver-guides/distracted-driving-report.


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