Itasca, IL – According to National Safety Council estimates, cell phone-related crashes have increased for the third consecutive year and now account for 27 percent of all crashes. The estimate includes crashes involving drivers who are texting or talking on handheld or hands-free cell phones.
The Council estimates texting-related crashes jumped from 5 percent to 6 percent while crashes involving drivers talking on cell phones remained at 21 percent.
"The incredible connectivity enabled by technology has resulted in a very dangerous environment behind the wheel," said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. "While the public understands the risks associated with distracted driving, the data shows the behavior continues - we need better education, laws and enforcement to make our roads safer for everyone."
The Council calculates its estimate based on a model that uses inputs from federal fatality data[i], observational data[ii] and research into the crash risks associated with various forms of cell phone use. Texting increases a driver's crash risk at least eight times; drivers talking on either handheld or hands-free cell phones are four times as likely to crash.
NSC created the annual estimate because cell phone-related crashes are not well represented in federal fatality data. Learn more about the underreporting of crashes involving cell phone use as nsc.org/underreporting.
** On June 30, NSC refined its estimate based on new data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Using that new data, the Council now estimates cell phone crashes have plateaued and account for 26 percent of all car crashes – unchanged from the Council's estimate released in 2014. However, the estimated percentages of crashes involving drivers talking versus those who are texting have changed. Based on the new NHTSA data, NSC estimates crashes involving drivers talking on handheld or hands-free cell phones have decreased from 21 to 20 percent. The percentage of crashes involving texting is estimated to be 6 percent – up from 5 percent.
About the National Safety Council
Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, the National Safety Council, nsc.org, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact – distracted driving, teen driving, workplace safety, prescription drug overdoses and Safe Communities.
[i] National Highway Traffic Safety Administration FARS data, 2013
[ii] National Occupant Protection Use Surveys, 2013