Distracted Driving


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. According to NHTSA, one of every ten fatal crashes in the U.S. involves distraction, resulting in more than 3,000 deaths per year.

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What is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. These types of distractions include:

  • - Texting
  • - Using a cell phone or smartphone
  • Eating and drinking
  • - Talking to passengers
  • - Grooming
  • - Reading, including maps
  • - Using a navigation system
  • - Watching a video
  • - Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player


But, because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction.

The best way to end distracted driving is to educate all Americans about the danger it poses. On this page, you'll find facts and statistics that are powerfully persuasive. If you don't already think distracted driving is a safety problem, please take a moment to learn more. And, as with everything on Distraction.gov, please share these facts with others. Together, we can help save lives.

Got questions? Visit our FAQ! Want even more information? Look at sample research reports.


Key Facts and Statistics

In 2014, 3,179 people were killed, and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.

As of December 2014, 169.3 billion text messages were sent in the US (includes PR, the Territories, and Guam) every month. (CTIA)

Ten percent of all drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. This age group has the largest proportion of driv­ers who were distracted at the time of the crashes. (NHTSA)

Drivers in their 20s are 23 percent of drivers in all fatal crashes, but are 27 percent of the distracted drivers and 38 percent of the dis­tracted drivers who were using cell phones in fatal crashes. (NHTSA)

The percentage of drivers text-messaging or visibly manipu­lating handheld devices increased from 1.7 percent in 2013 to 2.2 percent in 2014. Since 2007, young drivers (age 16 to 24) have been observed manipulating electronic devices at higher rates than older drivers. (NHTSA)

At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010. (NOPUS)

Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that's enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded. (2009, VTTI)


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Teens

Did you know that traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for American teens? And when it comes to distracted driving, young people are among the most likely to text and talk behind the wheel.

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Parents

As parents, you're the number one influence on what kind of driver your teens become. Help them develop a lifetime of good driving habits by following these simple steps:

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Educators

Educators play a crucial role in helping students develop safe driving habits that can last a lifetime. Here's how you can help students get the message on distracted driving:

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Take the Pledge

The fight to end distracted driving starts with you. Make the commitment to drive phone-free today.

Distracted driving kills and injures thousands of people each year. I pledge to:

  • - Protect lives by never texting or talking on the phone while driving.
  • - Be a good passenger and speak out if the driver in my car is distracted.
  • - Encourage my friends and family to drive phone-free.