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Distracted driving has gone from being an almost unknown risk on the roads to being one of the most serious concerns for modern safety. A federal analysis of crash data shows that drunk drivers cause 10,265 fatal crashes each year, while distracted drivers cause 3,477 fatal crashes. In terms of injuries, drunk drivers caused 290,000 injuries in one year, while distracted drivers caused 391,000.

Given that this data is several years old, the gap between the number of drunk driving and distracted driving crashes may have shrunk since then. Even if rates have stayed relatively similar, it still means hundreds of people die every month and many more wind up injured in preventable, distraction-related collisions.

Mobile device use is only one form of distraction

When you stop to think about the fact that those statistics reflect only one kind of distraction, the danger of distracted driving becomes even more concerning.

It is relatively simple for law enforcement officers to determine if someone used their phone in the moments leading up to a crash. However, many other forms of distraction, such as eating or drinking, or talking with someone else in the vehicle, are harder to prove and therefore may not contribute to this already alarming statistic.

Distraction can often involve mobile devices, but it can also involve someone taking their hands off the wheel, their eyes off the road or their mind off the task of driving. While it is impossible to determine how many people actually get into crashes because they aren’t paying attention, it stands to reason that the number is much higher than what current statistics reflect.