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The Dangers of Distracted Driving

April 8, 2024Articles

Today’s world is busy for most Americans, with multitasking often necessary to accomplish goals in overbooked daily schedules. Unfortunately, the car is not the place to multitask. Instead, a driver must focus on the road ahead and their driving actions. Distractions have been present since driving began but with today’s fast-moving technological advances, cell phones have become the central tool of our lives for communication, navigation, music, news, and updates from family and friends. Cell phones are by far the most common cause of distracted driving accidents, often with devastating results.

Alarming Statistics on Distracted Driving in the U.S.

According to studies, when a driver going 55 miles per hour takes their eyes off the road for the average five seconds required to read a text message, they travel the length of a football field while dangerously distracted. More alarming statistics include:

  •  3,308 people died due to traffic accidents caused by distracted drivers in 2022
  • NHTSA research reveals up to 30% of crashes result from distracted driving
  • An average of 1.2 million traffic accidents from distracted drivers now occur annually according to NHTSA
  • An estimated 800,000 vehicles are being driven by drivers looking at their cell phones at this very moment
  • The risk of an accident is 23 times higher when a driver holds a cell phone
  • In a recent year, costs associated with distracted driving totaled $98.2 billion, far exceeding the costs of accidents due to intoxicated driving
  • 36% of drivers in a Traveler’s Risk survey admitted to having at least one near miss in traffic due to engaging in distracted driving in 2023
  •  In the same Traveler’s Risk survey, 80% of drivers admit to taking/making calls, 57% admit to reading texts, 49% admit to typing texts, 28% admit to using social media, and 27% admit to taking photos and videos—all while driving

Drivers understand the danger, yet the statistics reveal that many still use their phones while driving. It’s a life-saving measure to turn off a phone or engage the “Do not disturb” feature while driving. 84% of drivers agree that they’d put away their cell phones if asked to do so by a passenger in their vehicle.

Common Types of Distracted Driving Accidents

When a driver has their eyes away from the road even for a few seconds, they are unaware of dangers on the road ahead. They also present a grave danger to others by risking straying out of their lane or missing traffic signs and signals. Common types of accidents caused by distracted drivers include:


  • Rear-end collisions
  • Intersection collisions due to unintentionally running a red light or stop sign
  • Head-on collisions due to drifting
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Run-off-the-road accidents
  • Impact with an obstacle such as a guardrail, fence, or mailbox

Distractions Are More Than Just Cell Phones

Although cell phone use is by far the most common cause of distracted driving today, other types of distractions while driving also cause accidents. These include the following:

  • Eating
  • Grooming or applying makeup
  • Adjusting a sound system or radio station
  • Retrieving dropped items
  • Interacting with misbehaving children in the back seat
  • Passenger distractions
  • Daydreaming

Distracted driving accidents happen in a moment, yet the impacts can be long-lasting or permanent, including causing death and devastation to the driver, their family members, and others on the roadway. It also leaves the distracted driver financially liable for the harm caused to others.