The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) kicked off its annual U Drive. U Text. U Pay distracted driving prevention campaign in April. Connecticut residents will see two new television ads (one in English and one in Spanish) about the dangers of distracted driving. At the kickoff press conference, the NHTSA also announced its final numbers for distracted driving crashes in 2021.
The government first tracked driver fatalities in 1975, and the numbers consistently went down for 30 years. The number of driver fatalities then stalled for over a decade and began increasing in 2020 and 2021. In 2021, there were 42,939 deaths on the roadways, which was a record 10% increase.
Significant numbers are increasing
As we all use our mobile devices more commonly, the number of deaths due to distracted driving have increased.
- There were 3,522 deaths attributed to distracted driving.
- The number of distracted driving deaths was a 12% increase.
- The number of distracted driving deaths made up 8.2% of all reported road-related fatalities.
What is distracted driving?
The NHTSA defines distracted driving as any activity that takes a driver’s focus off of safe driving. NHTSA officials have stated that distracted driving may be underreported as a else. The Agency published “The Economic and Societal Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes,” which concluded that:
- Distracted driving played a role in 29% of all crashes in 2019.
- Distracted driving collisions resulted in 10,546 deaths and 1.3 million injuries.
- The total economic cost of these collisions was $98.2 billion.
Cause for concern
NHTSA officials have indicated that it is critical that drivers pay attention to the roadways and not their devices because motor vehicle fatalities make up 95% of all transportation-related deaths in the United States. Victims can be drivers, passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. They include people from all age groups.
Victims have legal rights
Drivers that cause collisions due to risky behavior like texting, talking on the phone, changing radio stations, adjusting GPS or using social media may be responsible for any injuries they cause. Those injured in motor vehicle collisions involving distracted drivers should find out from a qualified attorney what kinds of compensation they may be entitled to.