Special Report

States With the Worst Distracted Driving Problem

If you get an important text message while driving, what do you do? If you choose to do anything but ignore the message, then you are driving distracted. Texting is just one of the many ways to be a distracted driver, and there is a chance you are living in a state with many more distracted drivers than others. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,142 people were killed in car accidents caused by distracted drivers in 2020. That’s equal to about 8% of all traffic fatalities that year.  

Distracted driving is, put simply, driving while doing an activity that takes your attention away from the road, even for a second. If you are driving at 50 miles per hour, taking your eyes off the road for just one second means that your car travels nearly 75 feet, which is not a small length. (These are the 20 car accidents Americans get in the most.)

Cell phones are a major cause of distracted driving accidents, with 13% of all fatal distracted driving accidents attributed to either texting or talking. But many other factors can lead to distracted driving accidents, including taking care of kids or pets, reaching for an object, looking at something outside, reading, eating and drinking, applying makeup, and interacting with passengers. 

To compile a list of the states with the most distracted drivers, 24/7 Wall st. reviewed the distracted driving report by Zutobi Drivers Ed, an online drivers education resource. Zutobi Drivers used data from the Fatality and Injury Reporting System Tool, developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which has information about the use of electronic devices as well as fatal road crashes and injuries. States are ranked in order of distracted driving score, from worst to best. Data is for 2020, the latest year for which it is available. (See also, these are the deadliest states to drive.)

Dealing with minor distractions while driving can seem like no big deal. But quickly replying to a text, fiddling with the radio, or reaching into the McDonald’s bag for a few fries can indeed have serious consequences. When you are driving, nothing should come between your eyes and the road. Your life, and the lives of others, could depend on it. 

Click here to see states with the worst distracted driving problem.

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