Report: Distracted driving killed 9 US drivers every day in 2019

AAA shares tips for staying focused while driving this Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Car crashes involving distracted drivers killed nine people each day in 2019 in the United States, according to the American Automobile Association.

In a report by AAA based on 2019 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,142 people died from distracted driving car crashes in the U.S. -- an average of nine deaths per day. Distracted driving plays a role in more than nine percent of fatal car crashes in the country, translating to the more than 3,000 annual deaths and more than 400,000 injuries each year, according to NHTSA data.

In Michigan, 71 people died due to distracted driving crashes in 2019, the data shows. States like Texas and Florida saw the highest numbers of fatalities as a result of distracted driving, reporting 377 and 258 deaths, respectively.

This Distracted Driving Awareness Month, AAA is encouraging all drivers to refrain from using their smartphones while on the road to prevent crashes and, ultimately, deaths.

“Distracted driving remains a growing traffic safety problem nationwide,” said AAA spokesperson Adrienne Woodland. “Any distraction, whether it be texting or talking to a passenger, could be enough to cause a crash. AAA strongly urges drivers to focus on what’s most important, that’s the road in front of them.”

To ensure you’re not distracted while driving, AAA has provided the following tips:

  • Put it away. Place your mobile device out of sight to prevent temptation.
  • Know where you’re going. If using a navigation system, program the destination before driving.
  • Pull over. If you must call or text while on the road, pull off the road safely and stop first.
  • Ask passengers for help. If riding with someone, seek their help to navigate, make a call or send a message.
  • Be a good passenger. Speak out if the driver of your vehicle is distracted.
  • Don’t be a distraction. Avoid calling or texting others when you know they are driving.
  • Activate Do Not Disturb. Setting up this feature on iPhone or Android device will prevent calls from coming in while you’re driving.
  • Everyone should avoid distractions while in traffic. Just as drivers need to pay attention, so do pedestrians and bicyclists. Never call, text or play games while walking or cycling.

Related: Police say distracted driver hit semi truck in southwest Detroit

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About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.