20+ Must-Know Distracted Driving Statistics and Facts (2020)

Last modified: November 15, 2020

This post covers recent distracted driving statistics, including yearly death rates, DUI/drugged driving, texting & driving, and their impact on insurance premiums.

Over the past couple of years, distracted driving has become a rising concern for roadside safety on a global scale. Recent distracted driving statistics indicate that the practice causes thousands of deaths in the US as well as tens of thousands globally on an annual basis. Similarly, the practice also leads to millions of dollars’ worth of material damages, alongside personal injury.

Therefore, this article will focus on highlighting some of the main stats associated with distracted driving to provide much-needed insight on death rates, the similarities of DUI driving vs. distracted driving, some of the main distractions that drivers are exposed to, and lastly, the impact that the practice has on insurance premiums overall.

So, hop on in and enjoy the ride (or should I say — read)!

Alarming Distracted Driving Stats and Facts — 2020 (Editor’s Choice):

  • 3,166 lives were lost as a result of this practice during 2017 in the US.
  • NHTSA data indicates that 53,714 people have perished due to distracted driving between 2005 and 2017.
  • Reports suggest that alcohol-related accidents lead to a yearly cost of over $44 billion in the US alone.
  • A crash or ticket caused by distracted driving can increase yearly insurance premiums by over $220.
  • According to the Centre for Disease Control, 9 people die every day due to distracted driving.

Distracted Driving Deaths

1. The state of Tennessee has the largest number of distracted driving deaths, statistics on distracted driving reveal (as seen in the table below)

Rank The Top States by Distracted Driving Deaths

(for every 10 billion miles)

1. Tennessee 7.20 fatalities
2. Delaware 3.28 fatalities
3. Wyoming 3.22 fatalities
4. Texas 3.00 fatalities
5. Montana 2.91 fatalities
6. North Dakota 2.74 fatalities
7. Colorado 2.62 fatalities
8. Iowa 2.60 fatalities
9. Maine 2.25 fatalities
10. Illinois 2.17 fatalities

Source: Value Penguin

2. Distracted driving statistics indicate that 3,166 lives were lost as a result of this practice during 2017 alone in the US

This particular figure illustrates the many dangers associated with this deadly trend. It’s also worth noting that thousands more get either hurt or seriously injured as a result of distracted driving on US roads.

Source: NHTSA

3. When it comes to driver distractions, statistics show that deaths in the US have been on a steady decline between 2015–2017

During this time period, 3,526 deaths were noted in 2015, 3,450 in 2016, and another 3,166 in 2017. Nevertheless, the decrease in the number of deaths remains much lower than the target goal — that being 0.

Source: Edgar Snyder

4. According to the CDC and their distracted driving statistics, 9 people are fatally injured on a daily basis due to this practice

The same case study also reveals that roughly 1,000 people are injured every 24 hours in the US, following their involvement in crashes that were caused by distracted drivers.

Source: Cogburn Law

5. The all-time high death rate for distracted driving was reported in 2007 when 5,917 people died due to accidents caused by distracted drivers

Similar numbers were reported in 2006 (5,836 fatalities), in 2008 (5,438 fatalities), and in 2009 (5,474 fatalities). Based on these distracted driving stats, we can conclude that the problem is on a downward trend.

The reduction in death rates associated with this practice was caused by numerous public awareness campaigns (such as the “Looked, but did not see” campaign) carried out by NHTSA.

Source: Cogburn Law

6. Unfortunately, NHTSA data indicates that 53,714 people have perished due to distracted driving between 2005–2017

Current statistics on distracted driving allow us only a rough estimate; some hundreds of thousands were also seriously injured, requiring intense medical care. Do keep in mind that these stats are exclusive to the US. A global analysis is difficult to ascertain as numerous countries do not keep an official record of fatal accident causes.

Source: Cogburn Law

Drunk Driving vs Texting and Driving Accident Statistics

7. The chances of being involved in an accident are 6 times higher in the case of texting and driving than in drunk driving, as indicated by cell phone distraction statistics

This certainly comes as surprising, but when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. By the time you send a single text message, the car drives more than the length of a stadium (on average).

Hence, a driver who texts and drives usually cover hundreds of meters without even looking at the road. According to texting and driving statistics, this is generally not the case with DUI drivers, who generally attempt to get home safely given the state that they’re in.

Source: The Zebra

8. Women are generally more likely to text and drive compared to men

On the other hand, the same research has concluded that men are 4 times more likely to drink and drive, as opposed to women, as shown by distracted driving facts and statistics.

Source: The Zebra

9. Reaction times when texting and driving are equal to those of a person who has a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit of 0.08%

This further shows why distracted driving is such a dangerous and deadly practice. It also confirms the presence of a legal loophole. If going over the legal limit implies getting a DUI and a criminal charge, why are texting and driving still legal in numerous states? Likewise, numerous people are still unaware of the dangers of distracted driving according to statistics.

Source: The Zebra

Teenage vs Adult Distracted Driving Statistics

10. 303 teenagers have died due to distracted driving in 2016, according to an NHTSA report

Thankfully, teenagers and younger children are still the least likely demographic to be involved in a fatal car accident. Actual cell phone usage or texting and driving have led to 159 deaths, as indicated by 2016’s teen distracted driving statistics.

Source: NHTSA

11. On the other hand, young adults are the most likely demographic to die as a result of distracted driving. 898 young adults between 20–29 years old have perished while driving due to this practice in 2016.

Adults aged 30–39 years old are also prone to distracted driving deaths, seeing how 586 people of this age group die yearly in the US due to the same cause according to cell phone driving statistics. Older adults are the least likely demographic to be involved in deadly accidents caused by texting and driving or other forms of distracted driving.

This stat goes on to dismiss the prejudice that teenagers (16–19 years old) are most likely to die as a result of distracted driving. Indeed, the rates associated with cell phone usage behind the wheel remain high for this age group, yet not as high as young adults, as reported by teenage distracted driving statistics.

Source: NHTSA

DUI Statistics/Drugged Driving

12. An FBI report indicated that 1.4 million people were arrested as a result of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in 2010

In addition, approximately 112 million US-based adults carry out such activities every year.

Source: BACtrack

13. Studies estimate that 1/3 people will go through an accident caused by a drinking driver

We shouldn’t forget that when it comes to the dangers of distracted driving, statistics also include passengers. Of course, not all DUI-related accidents are fatal or result in serious injury, yet they do occur.

Source: BACtrack

14. According to NHTSA, roughly 28 people die due to drunk driving on a daily basis

Despite this, drunk driving is often not categorized as a form of distracted driving. However, statistics indicate the exact scope of the dangers associated with DUI driving.

Source: BACtrack

15. 10,497 people perished in 2016 due to DUI-caused accidents

Furthermore, this particular statistic for distracted driving accounted for up to 28% of all roadside accident deaths in the US for 2016.

Source: CDC

16. Reports suggest that alcohol-related accidents lead to yearly costs of over $44 billion in the US alone

Of course, much of this is covered by insurance agencies. Nevertheless, it is important to keep in mind that most coverage policies will not compensate the drunk driver since DUI and drug driving is illicit under all policies, according to driver distractions statistics.

Source: CDC

17. Drugs are involved in 16% of all US car crashes

While drugs do not directly cause an accident, they increase driver distraction, attention, and reaction times, making a vehicle crash more likely to occur.

Source: CDC

18. In 2016, it was estimated that 13% of the weekend and night-time drivers were under the influence of Marijuana

No further study on the matter was carried out since then; with the legalization of THC in several states, this rate has likely increased. Anecdotal reports and several approved studies have determined that pot use is, in some cases, less dangerous compared to drunk driving.

Still, factors such as the quantity, alongside age and gender, are also decisive. Distracted driving statistics in Florida, where substance abuse is more common compared to other states seem to point towards a similar conclusion.

Source: CDC

19. A study published by the US National Institute on Drug Abuse revealed that in 2017 12.8 million people drove while under the influence of illicit substances

Keep in mind, this figure does not mean that 12.8 million people were actually detected by law enforcement. The number is more the result of several factors, including self-reports, roadside sobriety tests, etc., the statistics for the distracted driving reveal.

Source: DrugAbuse.Gov

Here’s a brief overview of the effects that popular drugs have on driving capabilities:

Marijuana Methamphetamine/Cocaine Opioids Sedatives
Impaired judgment Aggressive behavior Impaired thinking Drowsiness
Slowed reaction times Reckless driving Drowsiness Dizziness, lack of orientation

Source: DrugAbuse.Gov

Top 10 Distractions While Driving

Here’s a list of the main distractions that drivers often have to deal with:

Cell phone use: as previously-mentioned, cell phone use is one of the main forms of distracted driving, leading to hundreds of thousands of yearly crashes worldwide, as shown by distracted driving statistics.

Using a tech device: tech-based distracted driving isn’t exclusive to smartphones. Other devices such as tablets or GPS platforms also contribute to roadside distraction.

Drinking or eating: eating and drinking can have drastic consequences. Safety practices dictate that solid food is not to be consumed, whereas straws should be used for drinking.

Moving objects or animals in the car: a falling object, or an energized puppy can increase driver distraction.

Adjusting media or climate controls: this led to the appearance of smarter wheel-integrated controls for media (volume, next track, next station, etc.).

Smoking: smoking, taking a cigarette out of the pack, looking for a lighter, lighting the cigarette, or putting it out are all to blame, statistics for distracted driving show.

Being mentally-distracted: we often find ourselves lost in thought, especially when coping with stress or due to boredom. This can lead to distracted driving. Thus, it’s best to practice mindfulness while being behind the wheel.

Vehicle passengers: chatting with passengers is almost always a pleasure, but it should be kept to a minimum, especially when there are more than a few occupants in the car.

Road rage: yet another cause of driver distraction, road rage can lead to shorter attention spans fuelled by anger.

Fatigue: drivers should never attempt to operate a vehicle while being tired; doing so decreases mental clarity and reaction times, thus making it more likely to be involved in a crash, according to distracted driving stats.

Source: Arlington Toyota

Distracted Driving and Its Impact on Your Insurance Premium

20. A crash or ticket caused by distracted driving can increase yearly insurance premiums by roughly $226

Texting and driving have an even stronger impact; you can expect to pay up to $300 more for your monthly insurance premium.

Source: Forbes

21. Insurance premiums are bound to increase in Vermont (the most), as a distracted driving ticket here can lead to a 41% increase in yearly premiums

Other regions where insurance agents severely punish distracted drivers include Connecticut, Oregon, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arizona, and Michigan.

Source: Forbes

Bottom Line

Hopefully, our distracted driving statistics will help some readers see the error of their ways and further increase awareness.

The complete elimination of distracted driving altogether would drastically reduce accident and fatality rates throughout the world. Authorities must place more emphasis on combating this practice by spreading awareness of the potential dangers.

FAQs

1. What percentage of accidents are caused by distracted drivers?

Distracted driving was regarded as the cause of roughly 9% of deadly accidents occurring in 2017.

2. What is the number one cause of distracted driving?

Cell phone use, such as taking a call or texting and driving, is generally the most prevalent form of distracted driving.

3. How many people are killed every day due to distracted driving?

According to the CDC’s distracted driving statistics, roughly 9 people perish every day as a result of this practice, while 1,000 more are injured.

4. Is texting and driving more dangerous than drinking?

Generally, yes. Of course, a person that is beyond the DUI legal limit will likely crash within a few minutes. On the other hand, texting and driving makes it 6 times more likely to be involved in a crash compared to drinking.

 

List of Sources: