What is distracted driving?

Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. These types of distractions include:

•  Texting

•  Using a cell phone or smartphone

•  Eating and drinking

•  Talking to passengers

•  Grooming

•  Reading, including maps

•  Using a navigation system

•  Watching a video

•  Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player

But, because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction.

The best way to end distracted driving is to educate the community about the danger it poses. On this page, you'll find facts and statistics that are powerfully persuasive. If you don't already think distracted driving is a safety problem, please take a moment to learn more. Please share these facts with others. Together, we can help save lives.

The Saratoga Automobile Museum (SAM) is spearheading the effort to stop texting and cell phone use behind the wheel with education, training and campaigns to raise public awareness. The fight to end distracted driving starts with you. Make the commitment to drive phone-free today.

Key Facts and Statistics

The number of people killed in distraction-affected crashes decreased slightly from 3,328 in 2012 to 3,179 in 2014. An estimated 431,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.

  • As of December 2013, 153.3 billion text messages were sent in the US every month. (CTIA)
  • Fifty-two percent of the people killed in teen (15 to 19) distraction-affected crashes were teens 15 to 19 years old. (NHTSA)
  • Drivers in their 20s are 29 percent of the distracted drivers and 39 percent of the distracted drivers that were using cell phones in fatal crashes. (NHTSA)
  • There were an estimated 265,000 distraction-affected injury crashes in 2015. In these crashes, 272,000 drivers were distracted at the time of the crashes. This is because multiple drivers in different vehicles were distracted at the time of the crash. (NHTSA)
  • In 2015, there were 3,477 people killed and an estimated 391,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. (NHTSA)
  • In 2015, 551 non-occupants (pedestrians, bicyclists, and others) were killed in distraction-affected crashes. (NHTSA)
  • An estimated 30,000 people were injured in 2015 in crashes involving cell phone use or other cell-phone-related activities. (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)
  • Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that's enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded. (2009, 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)


The Distracted Driving Pledge: Save a life today!

Name *
I Pledge *
I pledge to protect lives by never texting or talking on the phone while driving.
I Pledge *
I pledge to be a good passenger and speak out if the driver in my car is distracted.
I Pledge *
I pledge to encourage my friends and family to drive phone-free.