Most of us think about distracted driving as someone who is talking on their cell phone or texting. What you may be surprised to learn is statistically, a driver is more likely to be distracted because they are speaking to a passenger in their vehicle. This does not mean cell phone usage and texting do not play a role — they certainly do but, 57 percent of all distracted driving accidents occur as a result of speaking with a passenger.
What You Should Know About Cell Phones and Accidents
Despite not being the primary cause of distracted driving, cell phone usage is a significant problem. Here are some statistics offered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- During 2018, the death toll from distracted driving was in excess of 2,800 people
- While there has been a significant decrease in handheld cell phone usage over the last five years, headset usage and texting have increased from their lows
- Studies show drunk driving is less likely than texting while driving to result in an accident
- More than 350,000 accidents annually are tied to texting while driving
- The quoted study shows a driver who is reading a text message is likely to travel the length of a football field without looking at the road
The NHTSA study shows some other frightening statistics regarding distracted driving including:
- Eight percent of all fatal crashes involved distracted driving
- Distracted driving played a role in 15 percent of all accidents resulting in an injury
- There were more than 500 deaths associated with distracted driving who were not in a vehicle including pedestrians and bicyclists
Teens and Distracted Driving
Young people depend on their electronic devices for keeping in touch with friends, reading news, and more. While nearly every state, including Louisiana, has strict laws regarding teens and cell phone usage a review of the numbers regarding teen drivers tells a frightening story.
- Seven percent of all fatalities in distracted driving crashes were teens between the ages of 15 and 19
- Nearly 250 teens were involved in distracted driving crashes as a result of cell phone usage in 2018
- In the age group 15 to 19, 202 victims lost their lives in 2018 as a result of distracted driving
- Drivers in the 15 to 19 age group were responsible for the death of more than 250 people
- Studies show that even hands-free cell phone usage is still causing distracted driving accidents.
The National Safety Council Weighs in on Distracted Driving
Every year, the National Safety Council (NSC) conducts a distracted driving awareness month. Like many events during 2020, there were changes with this observation being moved from April to October. However, their website contains some sobering data we should all take to heart including:
- Every day on roadways across the United States, 700 people suffer an injury as a result of distracted driving
- In an average year, 3,000 people lose their lives due to cell phone usage while driving
- It is estimated the United States loses more than 40,000 people in distracted driving accidents on an annual basis
- More than 275,000 injuries occur annually as a result of distracted driving
Louisiana Statistics Regarding Distracted Driving
As part of the Louisiana’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) issued in 2017, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) evaluated information to help them determine the leading cause of accidents and fatalities on Louisiana roadways. This was done using data from 2005 through 2016 showing the following:
- Nearly 21 percent of fatalities in 2016 occurred as a result of distracted driving accidents
- More than 36 percent of all serious injuries were associated with distracted driving accidents
- On a positive note, distracted driving fatalities were lower in 2016 than in any of the prior years
- Distracted driving injuries decreased annually between 2019 and 2016
Louisiana Distracted Driving and Severe Injuries
LSU provides several reports which can be helpful in determining trends pertaining to distracted driving. Nearly 3,000 people have suffered serious injuries during the last five years as a result of a distracted driving accident. Distracted driving trends for the prior five years shows this:
- During 2015 there were 401 accidents resulting in severe injury
- During 2016 severe injury crashes increased to 444, representing an increase of nearly 11 percent
- In 2017, Louisiana distracted driving crashes decreased by nearly 12 percent with 393 serious injuries reported
- With 377 reported serious injury crashes as a result of distracted driving reported in 2018, another decrease was reason for optimism
- Unfortunately, 2019 saw another increase in serious injuries resulting from a distracted driving accident, this time an increase of nearly nine percent resulted in 410 victims
- Since the start of 2020, Louisiana has reported 417 new victims of serious injuries as a result of distracted driving accidents. This increase is the largest since 2016.
Distracted Driving Fatalities in Louisiana
Since 2015, distracted driving has resulted in 916 fatalities on Louisiana roadways. The year-to-year trends look like this:
- For the year ending December 31, 2015, there were 160 fatal crashes
- For the year ending December 31, 2016, there was a decrease of just over 8 percent in fatal crashes, but we still lost 147 lives in distracted driving crashes
- As of December 31, 2017, 167 victims succumbed to their injuries after being involved in an accident involving a distracted driver. This was an increase of nearly 7 percent over 2016
- The trend of distracted driving fatalities dropped in 2018 with 146 lives lost, a decrease of just over 7 percent
- During 2019, there was a massive increase of nearly 22 percent in distracted driving fatalities. We lost 178 lives to distracted driving accidents
- In December of 2020, Louisiana was reporting the largest single year decrease of just over 28 percent in distracted driving fatalities. Total lives lost were 128. This decrease is likely due to the massive statewide shutdowns which were imposed during the pandemic.
Other Notable Statistics Regarding Distracted Driving
Distracted driving statistics can also help identify the time of day when most accidents occur, and which roadway types have the most accidents associated with distracted driving. The following are the most notable statistics:
- The period from noon to six in the evening had the most accidents associated with distracted driving in 2020
- The second most common time frame for distracted driving accidents was from six in the evening until midnight
- Distracted driving accidents are most common on state roads during 2020. The numbers show out of 538 total accidents, 189 were on state roads.
- The second highest road type was city/town roadways where 125 accidents related to distracted driving occurred.
- There were more accidents in February (56) and August (59) associated with distracted driving
If you or a loved one was a victim of a distracted driver, you have a limited amount of time to file a claim to be compensated for your injuries. Louisiana has a one-year period where you can file a personal injury lawsuit. Contact an experienced car accident attorney and find out what steps you need to take to ensure your rights are protected. Schedule a free consultation today and find out what options you have to be compensated for your injuries and the financial losses you suffered as a result of a distracted driving accident.