What is the definition of distracted driving?

Any activity that takes the driver’s attention away from the task of driving.

What actions are classified as distracted driving?

• Eating and drinking
• An outside person, object or event: animal, a crash scene,or road construction
• Adjusting a radio, CD player, I-pod or GPS device
• Other occupant in the vehicle: talking, arguing, or assisting a child
• A moving object in the vehicle: a pet, an insect, or an object falling off the seat
• Smoking related: reaching for, lighting, smoking, or dropping a cigarette
• Cell phone related: dialing, talking, listening, texting or reaching for a cell phone
• Other device brought into the vehicle: reaching for a water bottle, purse or sun glasses
• Using a device integral to the vehicle: adjusting mirrors, lights, or seatbelt
• Other distraction: a medical issue, looking at a map or road sign, sleepy, or fatigue
• Inattentive or lost in thought

Fast Facts:


The number of people killed in distraction-affected crashes decreased slightly from 3,360 in 2011 to 3,328 in 2012. An estimated 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver, this was a nine percent increase from the estimated 387,000 people injured in 2011. As of December 2012, 171.3 billion text messages were sent in the US (includes PR, the Territories, and Guam) every month. (CTIA)


11% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.For drivers 15-19 years old involved in fatal crashes, 21 percent of the distracted drivers were distracted by the use of cell phones (NHTSA)

At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010. (NOPUS)

Engaging in visual-manual subtasks (such as reaching for a phone, dialing and texting) associated with the use of hand-held phones and other portable devices increased the risk of getting into a crash by three times. (VTTI)

Sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind. (VTTI)

Headset cell phone use is not substantially safer than hand-held use. (VTTI)

A quarter of teens respond to a text message once or more every time they drive. 20 percent of teens and 10 percent of parents admit that they have extended, multi-message text conversations while driving. (UMTRI)

Additional Resources:








Courtesy of Wininger Law Firm

distracted Driving

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