As drivers, we now deal with more distractions than ever before. And no, we are not talking about smartphones and tablets only, even though these are regarded as possibly the most frequent reasons for distraction behind the steering wheel. Eating while driving, changing the radio station, adjusting the navigation system, and even rubbernecking an accident, to name a few – these are all very dangerous habits that increase the risk of a crash. A new study shows there are certain states in the US where distracted driving has now become a plague.

Forbs has a new lengthy article focused on different findings regarding distracted driving around the United States, based mostly on quality sources such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In addition to basic definitions and key statistics, the publication’s study also reveals which were the most dangerous states with the highest number of fatal crashes from distracted driving based on data for 2020. True, this was the year with the most Covid-related restrictions and fewer accidents overall, but the proportions are likely valid today, too.

So, without further ado, let’s see the numbers. Data shows that 3,142 people were killed in an accident involving distracted driving in 2020, including 396 fatalities in which a cell phone was being used at the time of the crash. Overall, between 8 percent and 9 percent of all fatal crashes since 2016 in the United States have involved distracted driving. Also, more than 324,000 people were hurt in accidents involving distracted driving in 2020, while Texas and Florida had the highest number of fatalities related to distracted driving with 327 and 274 fatal crashes, respectively.

  State Fatal crashes from distracted driving Total fatal crashes Percentage of fatal crashes dues to distracted driving
1 Texas 327 3,520 9.29%
2 Florida 274 3 8.84%
3 Illinois 171 1,087 15.73%
4 Louisiana 151 762 19.82%
5 New Mexico 139 365 38.08%
6 North Carolina 128 1,412 9.07%
7 New York 115 963 11.94%
8 Virginia 103 796 12.94%
9 California 95 3,558 2.67%
10 New Jersey 94 547 17.18%

An interesting finding seems to be the fact that Texas and Florida were not among the most dangerous states based on the percentage of fatal crashes due to distracted driving. While New Mexico and Kansas had far lower overall fatalities from distracted driving, 139 and 84, more than 38 percent of all fatalities in the former and almost 22 percent in the latter came from this bad habit. 

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