Distracted Driving Accidents

Distracted Driving – Overall Crash Statistics

Distracted driving accidents are often devastating.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), distracted driving accidents killed 3,328 people and 421,000 people were injured in the year 2012.

Types of driving distractions

While distractions can be caused by many factors, distracted driving caused by cell phone usage and texting appears to be among the most common in the Chicago area, and has caused numerous accidents, some fatal.  One such accident involving a driver who was distracted by her cellphone is seen in the Chicago Tribune article titled “Cops:  Woman scrolling through phone strikes truck, pins man changing tire.”

Other types of distractions include:

  • emailing while driving
  • reading while driving
  • operating dashboard technologies
  • operating car entertainment systems
  • eating or other activities which cause the driver to take their hands off the steering wheel
  • multitasking, i.e. trying to perform other tasks at the same time as driving

Frequency of distracted driving

A CDC study in 2011 indicated that:

  • 69% of drivers in the United States ages 18-64 reported that they had talked on their cell phone while driving within the 30 days before they were surveyed
  • 31% of U.S. drivers ages 18-64 reported that they had read or sent text messages or email messages while driving at least once within the 30 days before they were surveyed

Hazards of texting while driving

Texting while driving is particularly hazardous, for a number of reasons.  One reason is that texting while driving distractions are frequent and protracted in nature.  According to the CDC, texting is one distraction that takes the driver’s attention away from driving on a more frequent basis – and for longer periods – than other distractions.

Additionally, texting appears to be particularly prevalent among younger drivers.  In another 2011 study, the CDC found that “nearly half of all U.S. high school students aged 16 years or older text or email while driving.”

Laws enacted concerning distracted driving

There have been a variety of laws enacted against distracted driving.  Illinois laws are summarized at the distraction.gov site page regarding “State Laws.”  Among the Illinois laws, texting while driving is illegal, and there is a handheld ban for drivers.

Additional resources concerning distracted driving

Additional statistics concerning distracted driving, as well as additional discussion, can be found at the following links: