The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports 3,166 people were killed in distracted-driving crashes in 2017, which was 9% of all fatalities on American roadways that year. Of those killed, 81% were the distracted driver and their passengers, while 19% were pedestrians, cyclists or others.
Massachusetts’ Safe Driving Law went into effect in 2010. It bans reading, typing or sending electronic messages from cellphones and other handheld devices while operating a motor vehicle. The law also forbids young drivers from using cellphones while they are behind the wheel.
Main types of distraction
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists three types of distractions for drivers:
- Visual: Taking your eyes off the road
- Manual: Removing your hands from the steering wheel
- Cognitive: Letting your mind wander when driving
Which age groups are most affected?
The CDC says anything that takes your mind off driving is a distraction, including sending or reading a text or email, talking on a cellphone, eating or using your navigation system. NHTSA ranked the age groups for the 2,994 distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2017:
- 20-29: 27%
- 30-39: 19%
- 40-49: 14%
- 50-59: 12%
- 70+: 10%
- 15-19: 9%
- 60-69: 7%
Teens are most likely to use cellphones while driving
While teen drivers ranked towards the bottom in overall distracted-driving fatal crashes, drivers under 20 are the most distracted drivers overall. A CDC study from 2017 found 42% of high school drivers reported sending a text or email within the past 30 days from when the survey was taken.
The study also found many students who reported texting while driving frequently didn’t wear a seat belt, were more likely to ride with a drunk driver and more likely to drive drunk themselves.
Careless drivers ignore startling distracted-driving statistics
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety asked drivers whether they found distracted driving unacceptable. While 84% said they recognized the danger, 36% of the same people said they had read or sent a text or email while behind the wheel.
If you have been injured as a result of carelessness by a distracted driver, an experienced personal injury attorney here in Massachusetts can help you receive compensation for any injuries, lost wages or other related costs you suffer.