Distracted driving facts and statistics

There are various ways an individual can be distracted by driving, including texting, using a cell phone or smartphone, eating and drinking, grooming and using a navigation system, among other distractions. Texting reportedly is the most dangerous distraction because it requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver, according to www.distraction.gov.

Following are some facts and statistics concerning distracted driving:

  • In 2011, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver compared with 3,267 in 2010. An additional 387,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver compared with 416,000 injured in 2010.
  • Eighteen percent of injury crashes in 2010 were reported as distraction-affected crashes.
  • In June 2011, more than 196 billion text messages were sent or received in the U.S., up nearly 50 percent from June 2009.
  • Eleven percent of all drivers under age 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash; this age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.
  • Forty percent of all U.S. teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that was dangerous.
  • Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.
  • Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted.
  • Sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent (at 55 mph) of driving the length of an entire football field blind.
  • Headset cell phone use is not substantially safer than hand-held use.
  • Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent.

This Web exclusive information is a supplement to A considerable loss.