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The advent of widespread cell phones brought greater attention to the dangers of driving while distracted. However, mobile devices aren’t the only things that take people’s eyes and mind off the road. Any activity that diverts your attention from driving tasks is distracted driving, including eating, grooming, looking at the passing scenery and talking to other passengers in your vehicle.

It only takes a moment for something to go wrong when vehicle operators aren’t focused on driving. Drivers who take their eyes off the road for five seconds while driving 55 mph travel the length of a football field in that time. Here are surprising distracted driving statistics 2022.

Distracted Driving Statistics 2022: Driver Habits

In a society that prides itself on busyness, many consider multi-tasking a skill to hone. However, the problem with this notion is that trying to do more than one thing at a time results in doing none well. The more simultaneous tasks people attempt at once, the less focus and attention they give to any of them — and the more complex the tasks, the poorer the performance.

A National Safety Council white paper notes that even when talking on a hands-free device, people often miss up to half of the visual cues in their driving environment. A January 2021 Zebra survey of American drivers found the following distracted driving statistics 2022:

  • More respondents engaged in eating than any other distraction (52.2%).
  • 6% of participants admitted to texting while driving, 11.7% took photos and 6.5% applied makeup.
  • Fewer than half believe it’s just as dangerous to text and drive as it is to drink and drive.
  • 9% of those aged 18-24 feel pressure to respond to a text while driving, compared to only 4.1% of those aged 25-34.
  • 4% of those participating in the survey said that they had engaged in drinking and driving.

When asked whether they thought engaging with their cellphones impaired safe driving skills, fully 19.5% completely disagreed, compared to 37.1% who completely agreed.

Distracted Driving Statistics 2022: Accidents

All drivers owe others a duty of care, meaning they are legally responsible for engaging in behaviors that keep others safe. When drivers fail their duty and cause an accident, they are liable for damages. Like many other states, Arizona is an at-fault car insurance state. When others sustain injuries in an accident due to distracted driving, they can file a personal injury lawsuit to recover economic and non-economic (i.e., pain and suffering) damages.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration compiles and analyzes data for police-reported U.S. car crashes each year. One of the areas of interest in its reports is distracted driving. A research note for statistics for 2020 traffic accident data found the following surprising distracted driving statistics 2022:

  • Distracted driving caused 13% of all car crashes, 14% of those that resulted in injury and 8% of all fatal accidents.
  • 324,652 people sustained injuries in a distracted-driving accident, while 3,142 lost their lives.
  • 587 distracted-driving fatalities were those who were not in a car at the time of the accident.
  • 25% of all distracted drivers were aged 25-34, and this same age group made up 30% of cellphone-distracted drivers. This group was also responsible for the highest number of fatal crashes.
  • Rates for accidents involving all types of distractions were relatively consistent from 2016 to 2017, as were those for cellphone usage.

Despite the focus on distracted driving, particularly cellphone usage, it is surprising that the rates of distracted-driving traffic accidents remain relatively stable, fluctuating only as much as 1% over a five-year period.

Distracted Driving Statistics 2022: Laws

There are no national-level distracted-driving laws for vehicles. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates the commercial trucking industry for carriers traveling across state lines. According to the FMCSA, distracted truck drivers cause up to 71% of all collisions involving large trucks. Federal law prohibits truck drivers from using mobile devices unless they are in hands-free mode. There are no laws banning other forms of distractions.

Each state writes its own rules for drivers in that state. As with trucker laws, no state prohibits distracted-driving behavior other than mobile device usage. One of the surprising distracted driving statistics 2022 is that, according to the Governors Highway Safety Administration, no state has a law against all cellphone usage for all drivers. However, the District of Columbia and 23 states ban all cellphone use for school bus drivers and D.C. and 36 other states impose a ban on novice drivers.

The GHSA also indicates that 48 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories have made it illegal to text and drive. In Montana and Missouri, drivers can still text and drive. Though texting is illegal in most states, not all ban handheld device usage for drivers. One of the interesting distracted driving statistics 2022 is that D.C. joins 30 states and U.S. territories that prohibit handheld device usage, making it a primary enforcement law. Law enforcement can pull drivers over for using their handheld devices.

Arizona Cellphone Law 2021

In 2021, Arizona joined the states in enforcing a handheld device law for drivers. Drivers can only operate their handheld devices in hands-free mode. The law stipulates that this applies to any stand-alone electronic device, including cellphones, tablets and gaming and music devices. However, drivers can push one button to engage or disengage a call or GPS driving directions, use a device for navigation and make calls to 911.

Distracted Driving Statistics 2022: Insurance

According to the Zebra, insurance companies are beginning to penalize drivers who receive a distracted-driving citation. Insurers establish rates based on risk. Driver distraction significantly increases risk, so it stands to reason providers would start to take notice. The Zebra’s findings indicate that Arizona is seventh in all states for imposing the highest insurance rate increases for distracted driving.

Where To Get Help When You Are a Victim in a Distracted-Driving Accident

If you’ve become one of the number of victims in distracted driving statistics 2022, MDK Law Group is here to help. We provide personalized services for Maricopa County residents who sustain injuries in traffic collisions caused by distracted drivers. We work on a contingency basis, so you get the help you need when you need it. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.