NHTSA Reports Nearly 6,000 Distracted Driving Deaths in 2008

September 30, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

It’s been official for some time now. Texting while driving is dangerous. So why do many people still do it? The risks that come with this bad driving habit are the focus of this week’s Distracted Driving Summit being held by the US Department of Transportation.

At the opening of the two-day conference, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood provide attendees with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2008 distracted driving statistics:

• 515,000 injuries
• 5,870 deaths
• On any day, nearly 800,000 drivers used a handheld cell phone

While drivers under age 21 make up the greatest portion of distracted drivers, there are many adults who text and drive. Our Charlotte, North Carolina car accident lawyers realize that it can be difficult to fathom how texting, a seemingly harmless activity, can be so deadly. But the statistics, research findings, and the number of people whose lives have been destroyed because they were injured or lost a loved one in a cell phone crash or a text messaging accident can no longer be ignored.

Virginia Tech Transportation Institute recently reported that large truck drivers increase their crash risk by 23 times when they text and drive. Merely reaching for communication device or dialing a cell phone increased the chance of a car accident or a truck collision by six times. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says that more than 1 million auto crashes a year that happen in North American can be linked to driver inattention.

Texting while driving becomes illegal in North Carolina beginning December 2009. There is still no law banning motorists from texting in South Carolina. Unfortunately, even with all the information and new laws, there will be still people out there who will risk their lives and the lives of others to make that cell phone call, send a text, turn the iPod dial to find the perfect song, or surf the web on their Blackberry or iPhone to stay abreast of the latest news headlines.

New Research Finds Increase in Use of Hand-Held Devices Among All Drivers, DOT.gov, September 30, 2009

Texting Trouble: Transportation Summit to Address Distracted Driving, September 30, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Distracted Driving Summit, US Department of Transportation

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety


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