Distracted Driving | Transportation Safety | Injury Center (2023)

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Nine people in the United States are killed every day in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.1

Distracted driving is doing another activity that takes the driver’s attention away from driving. Distracted driving can increase the chance of a motor vehicle crash.

(Video) Distracted driving kills, Don't use your phone | 2017 Global Road Safety Film Festival 3nd prize

There are three types of driving distractions

Anything that takes your attention away from driving can be a distraction. Sending a text message, talking on a cell phone, using a navigation system, and eating while driving are a few examples of distracted driving. Any of these distractions can endanger you, your passengers, and others on the road.

There are three main types of distraction:2

  • Visual: taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive: taking your mind off driving

Distracted Driving | Transportation Safety | Injury Center (1)

Distracted driving impacts thousands of Americans each year

  • In the United States, over 3,100 people were killed and about 424,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2019.1
  • About 1 in 5 of the people who died in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2019 were not in vehicles―they were walking, riding their bikes, or otherwise outside a vehicle.1

Distracted Driving | Transportation Safety | Injury Center (2)

(Video) Distracted Driving Takes Center Stage

Sources: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2010-2013external icon, 2014–2018external iconand 2019external icon

You can visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrationexternal icon(NHTSA) website for more information on how data on motor vehicle crash deaths are collected and the limitations of distracted driving data.

Some groups are more at risk for distracted driving

Young adult and teen drivers

  • Among fatal crashes involving distracted drivers in the U.S. in 2019:
    • A higher percentage of drivers ages 15–20 were distracted than drivers age 21 and older.
    • Among these younger drivers, 9% of them were distracted at the time of the crash.1
  • A 2019 survey3 of U.S. high school students found:
    • 39% of high school students who drove in the past 30 days texted or emailed while driving on at least one of those days.4
    • Texting or emailing while driving was more common among older students than younger students (see figure below) and more common among White students (44%) than Black (30%) or Hispanic students (35%).4
    • Texting or emailing while driving was as common among students whose grades were mostly As or Bs as among students with mostly Cs, Ds, or Fs. 4
    • Students who texted or emailed while driving were also more likely to report other transportation risk behaviors.They were:
      • more likely to not always wear a seat belt;
      • more likely to ride with a driver who had been drinking alcohol; and
      • more likely to drive after drinking alcohol. 4

Distracted Driving | Transportation Safety | Injury Center (3)

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administrationexternal icon, 2019

Distracted Driving | Transportation Safety | Injury Center (4)

Sourceexternal icon: Transportation Risk Behaviors Among High School Students — Youth Risk Behavior Survey, United States, 2019

Distracted driving is preventable

What drivers can do

  • Do not multitask while driving. Whether it’s adjusting your mirrors, selecting music, eating, making a phone call, or reading a text or email―do it before or after your trip, not during.
  • You can use appsexternal icon to help you avoid cell phone use while driving. Consider trying an app to reduce distractions while driving.

What passengers can do

  • Speak up if you are a passenger in a car with a distracted driver. Ask the driver to focus on driving.
  • Reduce distractions for the driver by assisting with navigation or other tasks.

What parents can do5

  • Talk to your teen or young adult about the rules and responsibilities involved in driving. Share stories and statistics related to teen/young adult drivers and distracted driving.
    • Remind them driving is a skill that requires the driver’s full attention.
    • Emphasize that texts and phone calls can wait until arriving at a destination.
  • Familiarize yourself with your state’s graduated driver licensing systemexternal icon and enforce its guidelines for your teen.
  • Know your state’s laws on distracted drivingexternal icon. Many states have novice driver provisions in their distracted driving laws. Talk with your teen about the consequences of distracted driving and make yourself and your teen aware of your state’s penalties for talking or texting while driving.
  • Set consequences for distracted driving. Fill out CDC’s Parent-Teen Driving Agreementpdf icontogether to begin a safe driving discussion and set your family’s rules of the road. Your family’s rules of the road can be stricter than your state’s law. You can also use these simple and effective ways to get involved with your teen’s driving: Parents Are the Key.
  • Set anexample by keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel while driving.
  • Learn more: visit NHTSA’s website on safe teen drivingexternal icon.
(Video) Faces of Distracted Driving: Calli Ann Murray, 2

States are working to prevent distracted driving

  • Many states have enacted laws to help prevent distracted driving. These include banning texting while driving, implementing hands-free laws, and limiting the number of young passengers who can ride with teen drivers.
  • While the effectiveness of cell phone and texting laws requires further study, high-visibility enforcement (HVE) efforts for distracted driving laws can be effective in reducing cell phone use while driving. From 2010 to 2013, NHTSA evaluated distracted driving HVE demonstration projects in four communities. These projects increased police enforcement of distracted driving laws and increased awareness of distracted driving using radio advertisements, news stories, and similar media. After the projects were complete, observed driver cell phone use fell from:
    • 4.1% to 2.7% in the Sacramento Valley Region in California,6
    • 6.8% to 2.9% in Hartford, Connecticut,7
    • 4.5% to 3.0% in the state of Delaware,6 and
    • 3.7% to 2.5% in Syracuse, New York.7
  • Graduated driver licensing (GDL) is a system which helps new drivers gain experience under low-risk conditions by granting driving privileges in stages. Comprehensive GDL systems include five components8-9, one of which addresses distracted driving: the young passenger restriction.10 CDC’s GDL Planning Guidepdf iconcan assist states in assessing, developing, and implementing actionable plans to strengthen their GDL systems.
  • Some states have installed rumble strips on highways to alert drowsy, distracted, or otherwise inattentive drivers that they are about to go off the road. These rumble strips are effective at reducing certain types of crashes.10

The Federal Government is working to prevent distracted driving

Distracted Driving Fact Sheet

(Video) DISTRACTED DRIVING: Surviving the New "Drunk Driver" video

This fact sheet provides an overview of distracted driving and promising strategies that are being used to address distracted driving.

Distracted Driving Summary Fact Sheet pdf icon[PDF – 660 KB]

Additional Resources

References

  1. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2021).Traffic Safety Facts Research Note: Distracted Driving 2019 (DOT HS 813 111)external icon. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC: NHTSA. Accessed 8 February 2022.
  2. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2010). Overview of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Driver Distraction Program (DOT HS 811 299)pdf iconexternal icon. U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC. Accessed 8 February 2022.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. Accessed 8 February 2022.
  4. Yellman, M.A., Bryan, L., Sauber-Schatz, E.K., Brener, N. (2020). Transportation Risk Behaviors Among High School Students — Youth Risk Behavior Survey, United States, 2019external icon.MMWR Suppl,69(Suppl-1),77–83.
  5. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.Teen Drivingexternal icon. Accessed 8 February 2022.
  6. Chaudhary, N.K., Connolly, J., Tison, J., Solomon, M., & Elliott, K. (2015). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Evaluation of the NHTSA Distracted Driving High-Visibility Enforcement Demonstration Projects in California and Delaware pdf iconexternal icon(DOT HS 812 108). U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC.
  7. Chaudhary, N.K., Casanova-Powell, T.D., Cosgrove, L., Reagan, I., & Williams, A. (2012). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Evaluation of NHTSA Distracted Driving Demonstration Projects in Connecticut and New York pdf iconexternal icon(DOT HS 811 635). U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC.
  8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Motor Vehicle Injuries. Accessed 8 February 2022.
  9. Venkatraman, V., Richard, C. M., Magee, K., & Johnson, K. (2021). Countermeasures that work: A highway safety countermeasures guide for State Highway Safety Offices, 10th edition, 2020 (Report No. DOT HS 813 097)pdf iconexternal icon. U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC.
  10. Federal Highway Administration. (2011). Technical Advisory: Shoulder and Edge Line Rumble Strips (T 5040.39, Revision 1)pdf iconexternal icon. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC: FHWA. Accessed 24 August 2020.

Page last reviewed: April 26, 2022

Content source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control

(Video) Distracted Driving - Makeup

FAQs

What are the 4 types of driver distraction? ›

FOUR TYPES OF DISTRACTED DRIVING
  • Eating in the car. Drivers who eat behind the wheel are seriously limiting their ability to respond to an accident. ...
  • Talking to Passengers. The most distracting passengers are often children and pets. ...
  • Electronic Device Use. ...
  • Grooming.

How long does a text take your eyes off the road? ›

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. You cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention.

What is the penalty for texting and driving in Utah? ›

According to Utah's laws, anyone who is caught texting while driving could possibly face up to three months in jail, as well as a fine of as much as $750 fine, as well as a misdemeanor on their record.

What is the main cause of distracted driving? ›

Talking and texting.

People who use their cell phones to talk or text while driving are by far the most common reason for distracted driving accidents. In fact, the National Safety Council estimates that 26% of all car crashes involve cell phones.

What are the 4 most common categories of outside the vehicle distractions? ›

What are the 4 most common categories of outside the vehicle distractions?
  • Visual Distractions. Being visually distracted means you have taken your eyes off the road and glanced elsewhere. ...
  • Auditory Distractions. ...
  • Manual Distractions. ...
  • Cognitive Distractions.

What is the number one unsafe driving behavior? ›

Unsurprisingly, speeding is the biggest unsafe driving behavior in the US, as it is in many countries around the globe. Although going a few mph over the speed limit isn't that uncommon, it could be the difference between life and death if you're not careful.

What does a large diamond painted in a lane mean? ›

A large diamond painted in a lane means. This lane is reserved for special traffic.

Is texting and driving worth your life? ›

Distractions while driving can be deadly. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers. In the United States, more than 1,000 people are injured every day due to distracted driving.

Is it legal to drive with Airpods in Utah? ›

It's legal! Headphones or earbuds covering both ears are not permitted. The exceptions are motorcycle helmet audio systems, and one-ear headsets and earpieces.

How much is a careless driving ticket in Utah? ›

Other Moving Violations
CitationsFee
Careless Driving$110
Fail to Stop for School Bus(1st) $260 + 10 hours compensatory service, (2nd) $500 + 20 hours compensatory service, (3rd) $1000 + 40 hours compensatory service
Fail to Yield to Emergency Vehicle$160
Failure to Signal$130
6 more rows

Are headphones illegal while driving Utah? ›

There is no prohibition on headsets in Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Deleware, Washington D.C., Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, ...

What are 5 things that can distract drivers? ›

Causes of distracted driving
  • Talking on the phone. ...
  • Texting and other phone manipulation. ...
  • Talking with another passenger. ...
  • Moving objects/animals in the vehicle. ...
  • Adjusting audio and/or climate controls. ...
  • Manipulating car components and controls. ...
  • Reaching for an object or device. ...
  • “Rubbernecking” and other outside distractions.
6 Jun 2017

What are 5 precautions you can do to avoid distracted driving? ›

Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving
  1. Use your cell phone for emergency situations only. ...
  2. If you are drowsy, pull off the road. ...
  3. You should limit the number of passengers, as well as the level of activity inside the car. ...
  4. Avoid eating while driving. ...
  5. Do your multi-tasking outside the car.

What are the dangers of distracted driving? ›

Why is Distracted Driving a Problem? Distractions take a motorist's attention off driving, which can make a driver miss critical events, objects, and cues or abandon control of a vehicle, all potentially leading to a crash. Distracted drivers put not only themselves at risk, but everyone else using the road.

What types of drivers are more susceptible to distractions? ›

In Summary: Young drivers are especially susceptible to distraction while driving, and the consequences can be deadly. Texting and cell phone use while driving are especially dangerous.

What are the 2 types of distractions? ›

Distractions can be external (such as noise) or internal (such as fatigue, rumination, or stress).

What are considered types of distractions? ›

Visual: Anything that causes you to take your eyes off the road. Auditory: Any noise that takes your concentration away from driving. Manual: Anything that forces you to let go of the wheel. Cognitive: Anything that takes your mind off of the road.

Which correctly defines distracted driving? ›

The NHTSA defines distracted driving as "any activity that diverts attention from driving", includ- ing: a) talking or texting on one's phone, b) eating and drinking, c) talking to passengers, or d) fiddling with the stereo, entertainment, or navigation system [7].

What is the safest day of the week to drive? ›

According to the data, weekdays are much safer times to drive, with Tuesday being the safest. On the other hand, Fridays and Saturdays can be the most dangerous times to drive with the most amount of accidents.

What are 4 examples of risky driving behaviors? ›

NHTSA works to eliminate risky behaviors on our nation's roads.
  • Drunk Driving. Safety is NHTSA's number one priority. ...
  • Drug-Impaired Driving. Many types of drugs and medication, both legal and illegal, can impair your ability to drive safely. ...
  • Distracted Driving. ...
  • Seat Belts. ...
  • Speeding. ...
  • Drowsy Driving.

How do you survive a long drive alone? ›

How to Drive Long Distance Alone (and not go crazy)
  1. Set a limit to how many hours that you will drive each day and stick to it. ...
  2. Make a playlist before you leave. ...
  3. Stop at truck stops, not rest areas. ...
  4. Stretch every time that you stop. ...
  5. Buy an extra cell phone car charger and keep it in your glove box.

What does a white triangle painted on the road mean? ›

Give way road markings

The triangle road marking is used to provide an extra visual aid warning drivers of a junction just ahead. this road marking may not be used on roads where there is relatively little traffic. Give way road markings are also represented by one or two broken white lines across the carriageway.

What does a black and white diamond on the road mean? ›

A single white line indicates that lane changes are discouraged. A dashed white line indicates that lane changes are allowed. Symbols are used to indicate permitted lane usages. A diamond indicates a lane reserved for use by high-occupancy vehicles.

What do double yellow lines mean? ›

Double yellow lines mean no waiting at any time, unless there are signs that specifically indicate seasonal restrictions. The times at which the restrictions apply for other road markings are shown on nearby plates or on entry signs to controlled parking zones.

What age group is most likely to text and drive? ›

A.

The AAA Foundation poll opines that adult drivers in the 25 - 39 age group are more likely to text while driving than most drivers of a younger age. The data gathered from the survey showed that 52% of young adults text while driving as opposed to 38% of teenagers and high school students.

How many people are killed by texting and driving? ›

Texting and Driving Deaths
YearTotal number of deaths caused by texting and driving
2020396
2019430
2018393
2017450
2 more rows
21 Sept 2022

How many people have died from texting and driving? ›

About 400 fatal crashes happen each year as a direct result of texting and driving.
...
Texting and driving deaths per year.
YearTexting and driving deaths
2019387
2018356
2017418
2016453
3 more rows
13 May 2022

What are 5 distractions while driving? ›

Here Are The Top 15 Examples of Distracted Driving in California
  • Drinking While Driving, But Not Just Alcohol. ...
  • Having Your Earbuds In. ...
  • Eating While Driving. ...
  • Grooming Yourself While Driving. ...
  • Distractions from Kids or other passengers. ...
  • Pets In The Car. ...
  • Talking On The Phone. ...
  • Adjusting your GPS.
24 Jan 2022

How many types of distracted driving are there? ›

There are three categories that law enforcement and researchers tend to use when discussing distracted driving: manual distractions, visual distractions, and cognitive distractions.

What are the three distractions? ›

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 3 main types of distraction are visual, manual, and cognitive. All of these types of distraction can apply behind the wheel: Visual distraction occurs when you take your eyes off the road.

What are 5 precautions you can do to avoid distracted driving? ›

Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving
  1. Use your cell phone for emergency situations only. ...
  2. If you are drowsy, pull off the road. ...
  3. You should limit the number of passengers, as well as the level of activity inside the car. ...
  4. Avoid eating while driving. ...
  5. Do your multi-tasking outside the car.

What are the 10 top distractions that distract drivers? ›

Top 10 Driving Distractions & How To Avoid Being Distracted Behind The Wheel
  • Use of a Mobile Phone. ...
  • Rubbernecking. ...
  • Passengers. ...
  • Eating While Driving. ...
  • Reaching for Something. ...
  • Adjusting Controls in the Vehicle. ...
  • Moving Objects in the Vehicle. ...
  • Smoking.

What are the two types of distracted drivers? ›

According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, there are three primary types of driving distractions: visual, manual and cognitive.
  • Visual Distractions. Visual driving distractions cause you to take your eyes off the road. ...
  • Manual Distractions. ...
  • Cognitive Distractions.
20 Apr 2021

Which correctly defines distracted driving? ›

The NHTSA defines distracted driving as "any activity that diverts attention from driving", includ- ing: a) talking or texting on one's phone, b) eating and drinking, c) talking to passengers, or d) fiddling with the stereo, entertainment, or navigation system [7].

What are the dangers of distracted driving? ›

Why is Distracted Driving a Problem? Distractions take a motorist's attention off driving, which can make a driver miss critical events, objects, and cues or abandon control of a vehicle, all potentially leading to a crash. Distracted drivers put not only themselves at risk, but everyone else using the road.

Who are the most distracted drivers? ›

Teen drivers and young adults are at the greatest risk for distracted driving. According to NHTSA, among drivers involved in fatal crashes, drivers age 15 to 19 were most likely to be distracted.

What does distracted driving look like? ›

texting. talking on the phone or to passengers. eating or drinking. using the entertainment or navigation system.

How can you identify a distracted driver CDL? ›

Signs That Another Driver May Be Distracted
  1. Inability to maintain lane position.
  2. Driving between lanes or sudden swerving for no apparent reason.
  3. Not keeping a relatively constant speed (slowing down or speeding up frequently)
  4. Sudden braking in reaction to normal traffic stops.
  5. Running a red light or stop sign.
3 Dec 2021

What is considered a triple threat while driving? ›

Visual distractions mean taking your eyes off the road. Manual distractions are when you take your hands off the wheel. Cognitive distractions means taking your mind off of driving.

What is a inattentive driver? ›

An inattentive driving activity is any activity that distracts and endangers the driver, passengers, and bystanders. These distractions include eating and drinking, talking to passengers, texting, calling, watching videos, reading maps, shaving, applying makeup, and anything that takes attention away from driving.

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