Each day in the United States, over 8 people are killed and 1,161 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.
Distracted driving is driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving. Distracted driving can increase the chance of a motor vehicle crash.
What are the types of distraction?
There are three main types of distraction:
- Visual: taking your eyes off the road;
- Manual: taking your hands off the wheel; and
- Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving.
Distracted driving activities
Distracted driving activities include things like using a cell phone, texting, applying makeup, and eating. Using in-vehicle technologies (such as navigation systems) can also be sources of distraction. While any of these distractions can endanger the driver and others, texting while driving is especially dangerous because it combines all three types of distraction.
Young adult and teen drivers
- Drivers under the age of 20 have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.
- The national The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) monitors health-risk behaviors among high school students, including sending texts while driving.
- In 2013, more than two out of five students who drove in the past 30 days sent a text or email while driving.
- Those who text while driving are nearly twice as likely to ride with a driver who has been drinking.
- Students who frequently text while driving are more likely to ride with a drinking driver or drink and drive than students who text while driving less frequently.
What is being done?
- Many states are enacting laws—such as banning texting while driving, or using graduated driver licensing systems for teen drivers—to help raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and to keep it from occurring. However, the effectiveness of cell phone and texting laws on decreasing distracted driving-related crashes requires further study. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety keeps track of such laws.