Nearly 10 percent of traffic deaths related to distracted driving: report

September 26, 2012

Washington – Driver distraction played a role in 9 percent of all fatal traffic crashes and 18 percent of crashes resulting in injuries in 2010, according to a new report (.pdf file) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Distractions tracked in the study included electronic controls in the vehicle, passengers, cell phones, and tasks such as eating or drinking. Among the findings:

  • 13 percent of distracted driving-related fatalities and 6 percent of crash injuries involved a cell phone.
  • In distraction-related fatal crashes involving drivers younger than 20, 19 percent of the distracted drivers were using cell phones.
  • Of the total number of people killed in distraction-related crashes, 60 percent were drivers, about one-fourth were passengers and 14 percent were non-occupants, such as pedestrians.

Researchers stated that these findings should not be compared to previous years, as data-collection methods and the definition of driver distractions changed for 2010.