Statistics show that using a smartphone or electronic device behind the wheel is one of the most dangerous driver behaviors. This action and other distractions exponentially increase the risk of a serious auto accident. 

Understanding the data behind distracted driving can encourage drivers to avoid this hazardous practice. 

Prevalence of distracted driving crashes 

The Missouri Department of Transportation reports that crashes related to cell phone use increased by 31% from 2014 to 2018. While most states saw a decline in traffic fatalities between 2016 and 2018, fatalities increased in Missouri over this same period. 

Nationwide, 2,841 individuals died in distracted driving crashes in 2018 according to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. The agency also reports about 400,000 annual injuries in this type of accident. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that distracted driving crashes injure about 1,000 people and kill about nine people every day in the U.S. 

Distracted driver demographics 

Missouri also reported that 70% of drivers who caused distracted driving crashes in 2018 were at least 22 years old, which means 30% of these crashes involved teens. NHTSA data indicates that just 8% of nationwide fatalities in these crashes involved distracted teen drivers. The most fatalities, 23%, occurred in the 20-to-29 age group. The CDC reports that in 2017, 42% of high school students surveyed by the agency said they had sent a text or email while driving in the past month. 

Missouri is one of just two states without distracted driving laws for adults, though the state does prohibit teen drivers from texting. The Insurance Information Institute says that teen drivers make an average of 55% fewer handheld cell phone calls in the 41 states with a hands-free law, which does not include Missouri. Even though device use is legal for adults, break this habit to help reduce your chances of involvement in a catastrophic auto accident.