NHTSA releases reports on lives saved, distracted driving

September 30, 2010

In 2009, 30,808 motor vehicle crash fatalities -- 11 percent involving a distracted driver -- occurred, while 12,713 lives were saved by laws and safety devices, according to two reports released Tuesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Findings from NHTSA's traffic safety report (.pdf file) on lives saved in 2009 show:

  • Restraint use and minimum-drinking-age laws contributed to the lives saved.
  • Frontal air bags saved 2,831 lives.
  • Motorcycle helmets saved 1,483 lives, and an additional 732 lives would have been saved if every motorcyclist had been helmeted.
  • Age-21 drinking laws saved 623 lives.
  • Child restraints saved 309 lives, and an additional 3,688 lives would have been saved if all passenger vehicle occupants 5 and older had worn safety belts.

Findings from a report (.pdf file) on distracted driving in 2009 show:

  • 5,474 people were killed and an estimated 448,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes reportedly involving distracted driving.
  • Of those people killed, 995 (18 percent of fatalities) involved reports of a cell phone as the distraction.
  • Of those people injured, 24,000 involved reports of cell phones as a distraction.