Distracted Driving Report – The States With the Least and Most Distracted Driving
In April 2023, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released data for 2021 that illustrated traffic deaths due to distracted driving increased by 12 percent from the previous year.
Every year, thousands of drivers and passengers are fatally injured as a result of distracted driving. In 2021, roughly 3,522 people were killed in car crashes involving a distracted driver, and hundreds of thousands more were injured.
In this report, we’ve pulled together the latest numbers to identify the major causes of distracted driving, what the trends look like through recent years, and which states have the greatest distracted driving issues and the highest number of fatal road accidents. We’ve then ranked each state from best to worst.
What is distracted driving?
Distracted driving occurs when the operator of the vehicle is trying to do something else besides drive. Since the driver’s attention is divided, distracted driving will drastically boost the chance of a car accident or fatal crash.
The most common driver distractions include other passengers in the vehicle, using a cell phone, adjusting audio or climate controls, eating or drinking, smoking and daydreaming.
Texting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.
How has distracted driving changed through the years?
Distracted driving continues to be a big reason for traffic accidents in the United States, making up 8 percent of total fatal crashes. During 2021, 3,522 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver, which represented a 12 percent increase from 3,154 deaths in 2020. Thousands of others were injured. During the last five years, roughly 15,895 people have been killed as a result of distracted driving.
Is there any difference between gender and age?
Yes. Men are nearly three times as likely to be involved in a fatal distracted driving accident compared to women. Male drivers were distracted in 2,390 fatal crashes in 2021, whereas women drivers were only distracted in 872 fatal crashes during the same period. In addition, about 23 percent of distracted drivers were between the ages of 15 and 24.
|State||Male Drivers Involved in Fatal Distracted Crashes||Female Drivers Involved in Fatal Distracted Crashes||Total|
|District of Columbia||2||0||2|
States with the most distracted driving
For the third year in a row, New Mexico has the most distracted driving in the country. According to statistics by NHTSA, New Mexico reported 195 distracted driving crashes in 2021. The state reported 13.2 distracted driving deaths for every 100,000 drivers, and 41 percent of all fatal crashes in the state were due to distracted driving.
The second worst state is Hawaii, followed by Louisiana, Kansas, Kentucky, New Jersey, Illinois, Washington, and Montana.
States with the least distracted driving
Both Alaska and Vermont had zero deaths in fatal crashes due to distracted driving. These perfect performers were followed by Nevada, Connecticut, Utah, West Virginia, California, South Dakota, Georgia, and Arkansas.
The large difference in distracted driving crashes could, in part, be attributed to different state guidelines on reporting distracted driving accidents. It can also be a result of extensive work by local governments on tackling distracted driving through anti-text laws, awareness campaigns, and more.
The complete list of distracted driving statistics for each state
|State||Total Deaths in Fatal crashes Due to Distracted driving||Distracted Driving Deaths per 100 000 licensed drivers||Percentage of Fatal Crashes Involving Distracted Driving||Distracted Driving Crude Rate|
|District of Columbia||2||0.39||5.00%||7.62|
Data in this report has been gathered from different governmental websites, including the Fatality and Injury Reporting System Tool (FIRST) developed by NHTSA.
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