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Distracted Driving

About

Distracted driving prevention messaging is essential to any road safety communication plan. 

We offer communication resources, in English and Spanish, for year-round social norming messaging and messaging to be used during an enforcement period. While both enforcement and social norming campaigns urge drivers to focus on the road while behind the wheel, it's important to understand the differences — and use the right communication material at the right time.

Campaigns

Social Norming

Don't Drive Distracted. Eyes Forward.

This campaign runs year-round, when high-visibility enforcement is not taking place, and focuses on social norming as a way of encouraging drivers to focus on the road, and not drive distracted.

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Enforcement

Distracted Driving Enforcement Campaign

This high-visibility enforcement campaign runs during a specific time of the year. Messaging should include the consequences of drunk driving and be supported by increased law enforcement.

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Facts

Distracted driving facts, stats and reports from NHTSA's National Center for Statistics and Analysis

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  • 32,657 people died in distraction-affected crashes over the 10-year period from 2012 to 2021. 
  • In 2021 there were 3,522 people killed and an estimated additional 362,415 people injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes involving distracted drivers. This was an increase of 380 fatalities compared to 2020.
  • Distracted-driving crashes accounted for 8% of all fatal crashes, 14% of injury crashes and 13% of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2021.
  • Five percent of all drivers involved in fatal traffic crashes in 2021 were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. Seven percent of drivers 15 to 20 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the fatal crashes.
  • Drivers in the:
    • 15-20 age group made up 8% of drivers in fatal crashes but were 11% of all distracted drivers and 16% of drivers distracted by cell phones in fatal crashes.
    • 21-24 age group made up 9% of drivers in fatal crashes but were 11% of all distracted drivers and 15% of drivers distracted by cell phones in fatal crashes.
    • 25-34 age group made up 22% of drivers in fatal crashes but were 25% of all distracted drivers and 30% of drivers distracted by cell phones in fatal crashes.
  • During a typical daylight moment in 2021, an estimated 373,066 passenger vehicle drivers were holding cell phones to their ears while driving.
  • In 2021 there were 644 nonoccupants (pedestrians, pedalcyclists, and others) killed in distraction-affected traffic crashes.
     

Graphics

State Handheld Cell Phone Bans
State Text Messaging Bans

Additional Resources