Despite Distracted Driving Hype, Cell Phone Use Involved In Less Than 1% Of Traffic Accidents


April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and so across the United States there will bepush for laws to crack down on cell phone use in cars, and for tougher enforcement for existing laws. I posted over the weekend about the crackdown planned for here in North Dakota.

I’m working on finding out just how many crashes in ND are attributable to distracted driving in general, and cell phone use specifically, but for now it’s worth looking at the national data. According to the most recent distracted driving report from the National Highway Transportation Save Administration released this month, distracted driving due to cell phone use is a very small percentage of all traffic accidents.

Here’s the table from page three of the report:



If we do the math for 2012, distracted driving due to cell phone use was involved in just 1.2 percent of fata crashes, and 0.98 percent of all crashes.

Even as a percentage of just distracted driving incidents, cell phone use is very small slice of the pie. It was just 7 percent of all distracted driving crashes in 2012, meaning 93 percent of distracted driving crashes were caused by something other than a cell phone. Like a car radio. Or food. Or another passenger.

When are we going to ban fast food drive through lanes?

Given the amount of attention this issue gets, you have to wonder if it’s really warranted.