The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released a study of all the motor vehicle crashes that occurred in 2010. According to that study, distracted driving was a contributing factor in 10 percent of fatal crashes. In addition, distracted driving was cited as a factor in 18 percent of the total crashes where someone suffered an injury. The study further broke down the numbers for cars, light trucks and large trucks. In crashes involving all vehicle types, cell phone use was a prevalent factor.
In 2010, 416,000 injuries occurred in vehicle accidents where a driver was distracted, according to the NHTSA study. More than 3,000 people died in accidents where the driver is thought to have been distracted before the incident. Cell phones were cited as the source of distraction in 13 percent of the fatal accidents and 6 percent of the total accidents. Among large truck drivers, who are forbidden by federal law from using a handheld cell phone while operating interstate, only 5 percent of all accidents were distracted driver accidents.
The study further confirmed that distracted driving has an age component. Not only were drivers under the age of 20 the most likely to be distracted, they were the most likely to be distracted by a cell phone. Approximately 11 percent of the fatal accidents involving this age group involved distracted driving. Roughly 19 percent of those incidents involved cell phone distractions.
The NHTSA has highlighted distracted driving in its efforts to improve highway traffic safety nationwide.
Source: Truckinginfo, “NHTSA: Nearly 10% of Fatal Crashes Involved Distracted Driving,” 25 September 2012