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Distracted Driving

January 29, 2021

Every day about 8 people in the United States are killed in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.1

What Is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention away from the primary task of driving safely.

Highway Fatalities:

  • 37,461 lives were lost on U.S. roads in 2016, an increase of 5.6% from 2015 NHTSA

Distracted Driving:

  • 10% of fatal crashes and 15% of injury crashes in 2015 were distraction-affected. NHTSA.
  • Distracted driving crashes are under-reported and the NSC estimates that cell phone use alone accounted for 27% of 2015 car crashes. NSC
  • In 2015, there were 3,477 people killed and an estimated additional 391,000 injured in crashes involving distracted drivers. NHTSA
  • The fatal crash rate for teens is 3 times greater than for drivers age 20 and over (IIHS)
  • Driver distraction is responsible for more than 58% of teen crashes.  AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

The growing frequency of distracted driving is alarming:

*660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving (Distraction.gov). In 2013, the most recent year for which statistics are available, the following was reported:

*3,154 people killed and 424,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers (NHTSA, 2015).

*Ten percent of fatal crashes, 18 percent of injury crashes, and 16 percent of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2013 were reported as distraction-affected crashes (NHTSA, 2015).

Many experts believe that these numbers are actually under-represented because they are relying on police reports and self-reporting of drivers. These numbers continue to grow as the use of in-vehicle technology increases and people remain overly attached to cell phone usage. 

The effects of distracted driving include:

  • Increased time that eyes are off road
  • Increased reaction time to hazards
  • Increased braking reaction time
  • Greater speed variability and slower mean speed
  • Increased lane deviations and lane departures
  • Closer car following

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driving a vehicle while texting is six times more dangerous than intoxicated driving. … However, NHTSA reports that drunk driving fatalities have dropped by a third in the last 30 years.

The role that distraction may have played in a vehicle crash is a complex issue that requires experts with specialized knowledge and expertise in the areas of:

human factors and

accident reconstruction, as well as

technology experts and/or

vehicle and driving experts.

Our experts use a combination of accident analysis techniques; knowledge of human behavior and performance; and experience investigating vehicle collisions to determine the relevant factors in a crash. In addition, our experts can often determine if a device was in use at the time of the collision, even if there is testimony to the contrary.

Need an expert for your case? Contact us today.