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Who is most likely to be a distracted driver?

On Behalf of | Nov 1, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Every day, distracted drivers kill about eight people in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five of those killed are walking, riding bikes or otherwise outside a vehicle. More than 33% of negligent drivers are between the ages of 15 and 29.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says 3,142 people were killed by distracted drivers in 2019, a disturbing increase over 2018 when about 2,800 died. In addition, negligent drivers injure more than 400,000 people each year.

Types of distracted driving

Whether a driver checks notifications on a smartphone, downs a snack on the way to work or adjusts their vehicle’s radio or GPS, many obstacles compete with focusing on the road. Forms of distracted driving include:

  • Visual: Failing to keep your eyes on the road.
  • Manual: Removing your hands from the steering wheel.
  • Cognitive: Not paying attention to driving.

Teens and young adults are most at risk

The CDC says 25% of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2018 were between ages 20 and 29. While a much smaller demographic, distracted motorists 15 to 19 were involved in 8% of all fatal accidents. A 2019 CDC study researching risky behavior among teenagers found:

  • 39% of high school students reported texting or emailing while driving in the previous 30 days
  • Texting or emailing while driving was more prevalent among white students than Black or Hispanic students
  • Texting or emailing was common, regardless of whether students earned As and Bs or Ds and Fs

Finally, the survey revealed that students who texted or emailed while driving were less likely to wear seat belts, more likely to drive after drinking alcohol and more likely to ride with other drivers who had been drinking.

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