Study: Drivers Dramatically Overestimate Distracted Driving Crash Rate
A new study by MoneyGeek again confirms that the public overestimates the impact of distracted driving. And not by a little. Drivers surveyed attribute 69% of crashes to distracted driving, when in fact, the percentage NHTSA attributes to distracted driving is just 14%.
Distracted driving is easy to observe, we witness the occupants of vehicles in the driver’s seats doing many things other than focusing on the road. Collectively, we pin the blame on phones and smart devices, but the problem predates the invention of the iPhone. In fact, following the iPhone's introduction, distracted driving has decreased.
NHTSA considers cell phones responsible for about 8% of distracted driving injuries. Consider that statistic. It means that 92% of injuries due to distracted driving are not related to phones. Due to the power of large numbers, even that small percentage translates to about 33,000 injuries per year due to distraction from smart devices used in a vehicle.
One reason that the numbers related to smart device distraction are low by percentage is that safety experts consider almost everything one does in a vehicle distracted driving. For example, using GPS navigation or speaking to another vehicle occupant.
Overall, distracted driving is responsible for about one in ten vehicle-related fatalities per year. By far the two most common causes of fatal accidents are impaired driving and excessive speed. Each causes about a third of the fatalities on US roadways each year.
You can learn more from the full study here.
Image of Tesla occupant engaged in distracted driving by John Goreham. Re-use with permission only.
John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. Following his engineering program, John also completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin