Cell phone-related crashes have increased for the third consecutive year and now account for 27 percent of all crashes, according to the National Safety Council. The estimate includes crashes involving drivers who are texting or talking on handheld or hands-free cell phones.
The council estimates texting-related crashes jumped from 5 percent to 6 percent while crashes involving drivers talking on cell phones remained at 21 percent.
“The incredible connectivity enabled by technology has resulted in a very dangerous environment behind the wheel,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “While the public understands the risks associated with distracted driving, the data shows the behavior continues. We need better education, laws and enforcement to make our roads safer for everyone.”
The NSC calculates its estimate based on a model that uses inputs from federal fatality data, observational data and research into the crash risks associated with various forms of cell phone use. Texting increases a driver’s crash risk at least eight times; drivers talking on either handheld or hands-free cell phones are four times as likely to crash.
NSC created the annual estimate because cell phone-related crashes are not well represented in federal fatality data. Learn more about the underreporting of crashes involving cell phone use as nsc.org/underreporting.