Distracted Driving Statistics & Facts In 2023

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The following distracted driving statistics illustrate just how dangerous motorists can be when they take their focus from the road.

About 3,000 People Die in Auto Accidents Due to Distracted Driving Every Year

Each year, approximately 3,000 people lose their lives to automobile accidents resulting from distracted drivers. This accounts for between 8% and 9% of all fatal motor vehicle collisions on roads across the United States.[2]

3,142 People Died Because of Distracted Driving in 2020

In 2020, 3,142 people died in collisions involving distracted driving. This included 396 fatalities in which a cell phone was being used at the time of the crash. While many people assume cell phones are the leading cause of distracted driving fatalities, many other behaviors can be equally dangerous. [3]

2,880 Fatal Accidents in 2020 Involved a Distracted Driver

Although 3,142 people died in distracted-driving-related crashes, this does not mean there were a total of 3,142 separate collisions. In fact, there were just 2,880 total crashes resulting from driver distraction. The fact that the death toll is higher than the number of independent collisions demonstrates that some collisions caused multiple fatalities. [4]

8% of Fatal Car Accidents Are Due to Distracted Driving

Since 2016, between 8% and 9% of fatal crashes have involved distracted driving. In 2020, the most recent year for which data is available, these collisions accounted for 8% of deadly accidents. [5]

While this is a far lower percentage of crashes than impaired driving, which accounts for approximately 30% of all fatal accidents, it still reflects the extreme risk presented by driver distraction. [6]

9 People Die Everyday From Distracted Driving

Distracted driving costs lives throughout the year. A total of nine people die every day in the United States from distracted driving. [7]

587 Pedestrians and Cyclists Were Killed in Distracted Driving Auto Accidents in 2020

It is not just drivers in motor vehicles who are affected by distracted driving. A total of 587 pedestrians and bicycle riders lost their lives in 2020 as a result of actions caused by inattention. These non-occupants may have lost their lives to drivers who were not paying attention or may have been distracted and made dangerous choices that contributed to collisions. [8]

324,652 Were Injured in Car Accidents Due to Distracted Driving in 2020

Not all distracted driving crashes are fatal. But driver inattention can also result in collisions that cause serious injury. The toll of driver distraction is far greater when considering crashes that caused injury but were not fatal. In fact, 324,652 people were hurt in distracted driving crashes in 2020. [9]

Drivers Spend an Average of 1:38 Minutes on Their Phones Per Hour of Driving

This reflects a 30.3% increase in phone use while driving compared with February of 2020—the last month before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Drivers may have become more dependent on phones as a source of information and communication during COVID lockdowns, which translates to more phone use while operating a vehicle. [10]

The Most Distracted Driving Happens Between 6 and 11 p.m.

Distracted driving is a problem at all hours, but inattention increases in the evening. In fact, between 6 and 11 p.m., drivers were distracted for an average of 1:56 minutes per driving hour. [11]

The Least Distracted Driving Happens Between 6 and 9 a.m.

There is some good news. Drivers are typically more focused on the road during their morning commute. Between the hours of 6 and 9 a.m., motorists are distracted for only an average of 1:04 minutes per hour of driving. This is nearly half as much time for unfocused driving as evening hours. [12]

Cell Phone Use Was Involved in 12% of Car Accidents

While there are many causes of driver distraction, cell phones remain a major obstacle to focused driving. The National Traffic Safety Administration reports that phone use is involved in 12% of all car accidents on U.S. roadways. [13]

Taking Your Eyes off the Road for 5 Seconds at 55 mph Is Equivalent to Traveling the Length of a Football Field Without Looking

Many drivers do not realize how far they can travel even when distracted for a brief period. The reality is, motorists can drive the equivalent of an entire football field blind if they take their eyes off the road for just five seconds when they are traveling at 55 mph. With so much ground covered, it’s not a surprise that the risks of a crash are high when motorists lose focus. [14]

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