It has been estimated that, at any given moment, over 800,000 Americans were texting, making calls, or using a handheld cell phone while driving a motor vehicle during the day. In 2012, distracted driving motor vehicle accidents killed approximately 3,000 Americans.
Between 2004 and 2008, distracted driving in Washington State contributed to 758 deaths, which is an average of 152 deaths per year. Distracted driving was involved in 25.8% (758 of 2,941) of all traffic deaths during the five year period. In Washington State, nearly 90 percent of distracted driving-involved deaths were vehicle drivers and their passengers from 2004 to 2008; another 9.8% were pedestrians. Approximately 42% of all distracted driving accident deaths during that period in Washington happened in King, Pierce, Yakima, Snohomish and Thurston counties.
The greatest number of deaths in Washington that involve distracted driving accident occur between 3:00 PM and 6:00 PM--during rush hour. Half (382 of 758; 50.5%) of distracted driving involved deaths occurred on Friday, Saturday, or Saturday. Collision data collected by crash investigators underreports driver distraction. Often no evidence of distraction exists at the crash scene and drivers are reluctant to admit distraction played a role in the crash.
A large percentage of rear-end accident are caused by a distracted driver who “looked away for just a second” to review a text message or to dial a number, failed to notice that traffic ahead had slowed or stopped and then slammed into another driver.