Crashes caused by distracted driving continue taking thousands of lives every year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, last year 5,474 people were killed on U.S. roadways in distracted driving-related accidents. Another 448,000 individuals have been injured in crashes. The number of fatalities makes up 16 percent of overall traffic deaths last year, the same percentage from 2008. The research showed that the under-20 age group had the greatest proportion of distracted drivers. Meanwhile, the 30 – 39 age group had the highest number of cell phone-related accidents.
Two days before the 2010 Distracted Driving Summit, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in a Sunday op-ed piece for the Orlando Sentinel calls distracted driving a “dangerous practice to a deadly epidemic and pressing public safety crisis.” Despite ad campaigns warning of the dangers of distracted driving, fatalities have risen in the last four years from 10 percent to 16 percent. The high number of distracted driver fatalities comes at the same time as overall traffic deaths fell in 2009 to their lowest levels since 1950. The Distracted Driving Summit will be held September 21 in Washington, DC. For more, visit www.distraction.gov.