Study: New Mexico has Highest Distracted Driving Fatal Crashes

Study: New Mexico has Highest Distracted Driving Fatal Crashes

New Mexico's proportion of fatal crashes involving a distracted driver (40.75%) is more than five times greater than the national rate of 8.12% in the U.S.

A new study has revealed that New Mexico has the highest rate of fatal crashes involving distracted drivers in America.

Business litigation and personal injury lawyers at Heninger Garrison Davis analyzed the most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to see which state has the highest proportion of fatal crashes involving distracted drivers.

New Mexico tops the list with 40.75% of fatal incidents (174 out of 427) involving a distracted driver. This proportion of fatal crashes involving a distracted driver is more than five times greater than the national rate of 8.12% observed across America.

Hawaii has the second most fatal crashes involving a distracted driver with 28.72% of its crashes involving a driver, or 27 out of 94 total fatal crashes. This proportion of fatal crashes is more than three-and-a-half times the national rate for crashes involving distracted drivers.

Kansas is third for fatal crashes involving drivers reported to be distracted, with 81 of its 381 total fatal crashes involving a distracted driver, a value of 21.26%. This is over two-and-a-half times the national rate of 8.12%.

Louisiana has the fourth highest rate of fatal crashes involving distracted drivers, at 19.5%. Approximately 173 of its 887 total fatal crashes involved a distracted driver, which is 2.4 times higher than the national rate.

New Jersey’s sees 129 out of 669 fatal crashes involving a distracted driver, making it the fifth highest in the U.S., at a rate of 19.28%. This is more than 2.3 times the national rate for fatal crashes involving distracted drivers.

The remainder of the top 10 states includes Washington in sixth (16.75%), Illinois in seventh (16.36%), Kentucky eighth (16.35%), Virginia ninth (11.81%) and Idaho in 10th (10.66%).

Top 10 Driver Distractions

The study also uncovered the most frequently reported distractions that were involved in fatal crashes across America.

The most common of these were mobile phone-related (384 cases), being distracted by an outside person, object or event (267 cases), and being distracted by other occupants in the vehicle (151 cases).

While these figures appear low in comparison to the total number of fatal crashes across America, many incidents were not reported to the NHTSA alongside a specific distraction.

“The NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System is a crucial tool for illuminating how and why fatal crashes happen on our roads,” said a spokesperson for Heninger Garrison Davis. “Highlighting the most commonly reported distractions will hopefully generate greater awareness among road users of just how dangerous these behaviors can be, and potentially mitigate the frequency and severity of crashes in the future.

“Using your cell phone, or reaching for other devices brought into your vehicle, are both completely avoidable diversions of your attention, yet ranked as some of the most common factors influencing fatal incidents.

“This is particularly important, as the number of technology-related distractions are likely to only increase in the future, so it is important that we are mindful of responding to these in a way that is safe for ourselves and other road users.”

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