Top 10 Numbers to Know About Distracted Driving

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month (DDAM) – a month-long initiative established by the National Safety Council (NSC) to emphasize safe driving behavior. Unfortunately, this year it comes less than 30 days after new NSC estimates show that our roadways are the most dangerous they’ve been in years. Here are 10 facts to know about distracted driving this DDAM.

Research commissioned by FMCSA shows that the odds of being involved in a safety-critical event (e.g., crash, near-crash, unintentional lane deviation) are 6 times greater for CMV drivers who engage in dialing a mobile phone while driving than for those who do not.

In similar research commissioned by FMCSA, the odds of being involved in a safety-critical event (e.g., crash, near-crash, unintentional lane deviation) are 23.2 times greater for CMV drivers who text while driving than for those who do not.

A survey last DDAM by AAA found that 51% of drivers admitted to texting and/or emailing when driving alone in their vehicle. That percentage was even higher for drivers between the ages of 25 and 34, with 59% admitting to the behavior.

A March 2022 survey by TRUCE Software found 72% of workers who drive as part of their job (think: delivery drivers) said they feel pressured to respond to emails and/or texts while driving for work.

Texting takes a driver’s eyes off the forward roadway for an average of 4.6 seconds. When traveling at 55 mph, this equates to driving 371 feet without looking at the road – or the approximate length of a football field (including both end zones).

Juries are now awarding huge sums related to accidents; looking just at trucking industry verdicts of over $1M, the average size of awards increased by nearly 1,000 percent from 2010 to 2018. These are verdicts that can force a medium-sized firm into bankruptcy.

The National Safety Council (NSC) analysis of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data finds that 3,142 people died in distraction-affected crashes in 2020. This is an increase of about 1% from 3,119 deaths in 2019.

In NETS’ most recent Cost of Motor Vehicle Crashes report, a non-fatal injury crash that involves distracted driving while on the job costs employers an average of $100,310 per accident. This decreases to $6,417 when the crash occurs off-the-job.

At any given moment during daylight hours, NHTSA estimates 354,415 drivers are talking on a handheld device and another 381,677 are visibly manipulating their devices. This means there are an average of 736,092 drivers distracted by their mobile devices at any moment.

According to NETS, distracted driving costs employers $18.8B a year – almost $10B more per year than speeding, alcohol, or not wearing a seatbelt. In fact, since NETS’ 2015 benchmark report, the cost of distracted driving crashes has increased by 129%, vastly outpacing other driving-related safety related risks.