Distracted Driver Deaths Down In 2009

Overall number of highway deaths dropped last year to its lowest level since 1950.


 
 

KEN THOMAS, Associated Press Writer | | Monday, September 20, 2010


WASHINGTON - The number of people killed in crashes connected to driver distraction declined last year but the government said the problem remains an epidemic for motorists in the U.S.

The Transportation Department said Monday that 5,474 people were killed in 2009 in crashes reported to have involved distracted driving, a 6 percent decline from the 5,838 people killed in 2008.

Distraction-related deaths accounted for 16 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2009, the same percentage as in 2008. The latest data came as the overall number of highway deaths dropped last year to its lowest level since 1950.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the problem of drivers failing to keep their eyes on the road - often because of mobile devices, cell phones or other forms of distraction - remained an epidemic.

LaHood said the data could be the "tip of the iceberg" because many police reports don't document whether distraction was a factor in vehicle crashes, making it difficult to know the full scope of the problem.

LaHood, a former Illinois congressman, is kicking off a second national summit on distracted driving on Tuesday. He has pushed states to adopt tougher laws against sending text messages from behind the wheel and other forms of distractions.

The Transportation Department report issued Monday said 448,000 people were injured in crashes reported to have involved driver distractions in 2009. An estimated 466,000 people were injured under those circumstances in 2008.

Sixteen percent of all drivers under age 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted while driving. Drivers in that age group were the highest proportion of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes compared to people of other ages.

The Obama administration has prohibited federal employees from texting while driving on government business and banned commercial truck and bus drivers from texting behind the wheel.

Thirty states and the District of Columbia prohibit drivers from texting behind the wheel; at least eight states have passed laws barring drivers from using hand-held cell phones.

Legislation is pending in Congress to push all states to ban texting by drivers.

___

Online:

Transportation Department: http://www.distraction.gov



Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, auto accident, auto extrication

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Mechanical CPR is Producing Resuscitation Results Beyond Expectations

Discover why clinical studies are finding mechanical CPR just as effective as optimally-performed CPR.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

New Technology Helps Missouri Ambulances

Strategic GPS tracking helps in Springfield.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Profile: Hospital Wing Air Ambulance

Take a look inside this Memphis service.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

New Monitors for Wyoming EMS

Grant helps Torrington EMS get new equipment.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

London Medics Increasingly Attacked

One medic describes her violent confrontation.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Violence, Arson in Ferguson

Crowds in Ferguson and elsewhere react to decision.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

California Bus Rollover

One killed and dozens injured.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Buffalo Residents Dig Out and Prepare for Flooding

Flooding expected as heavy snow melts.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >