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A Snapshot of Distracted Driving Statistics

In honor of April being National Distracted Driver Awareness Month, we thought we'd take a closer look at the numbers behind distracted driving car crashes. Between a number of major research studies and data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it is clear that driving while texting or using a cell phone has a definite impact on roadway safety.

Did you know that:

  • Driving while using a cell phone can reduce your brain power by 37 percent.
  • Using a cell phone behind the wheel has about the same effect on a driver's reaction time as does driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08.
  • Hands-free cell phone use is actually not proven to be much safer than handheld cell phone use.
  • Each time you read an email or send a text message while driving you away from the road for at least 4.6 seconds. When traveling at 55 mph, this equates to driving the length of an entire football field without looking up.
  • Texting increases the risk of being in a car crash by 23 fold.
  • Drivers that text or call while behind the wheel are four times more likely to be in an injury-causing accident.

A quick look at accident statistics from the NHTSA show that:

  • Nearly 5,500 people died in 2009 in fatal car accidents that involved distracted driving.
  • Almost 448,000 were injured in 2009 in distracted driving car crashes.
  • This translates to 16 percent of fatal car crashes and 20 percent of injury-causing car crashes involving distracted driving.

Source: Distraction.gov, "Key Facts and Statistics."

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