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The Cost of Distracted Driving: Commit to Focus on Driving

Image of Cognitive FX Team
Updated on 24 March, 2024
Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Alina Fong

The Cost of Distracted Driving Commit to Focus on Driving

When it comes to multitasking, we all think we’re great at it, but really only about 2% of people can successfully multitask, according to Psychology Today. Even if you think you MIGHT be one of these people, chances are, you’re probably not. Yet it seems that we all like to test out that theory in inappropriate places, specifically when we’re on the road.

Most of us have sent a text or talked on the phone while driving, but we also all have been in or know someone who has been in an accident involving distracted driving. You’d think we would have gotten the hint by now, especially with driving laws being the way that they are. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, “ 15 states prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cellphones while driving”, and “all states except 2 include at least one category for distraction on police crash report forms.”

Distracted Driving Is Costly

it’s clear that it’s an epidemic; people are aware that it’s happening, but we’re still doing it. Why is that, when a split second spent looking at your phone could end up harming or even killing someone? According to the CDC, 9 people are killed and over 1,000 are injured EVERY DAY from distracted driving. That’s too many. Take a look at some of these other recent distracted driving statistics.

  • The National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year.
  • 1 out of every 4 car accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving.
  • Texting while driving is 6 times more likely to cause an accident than driving drunk.
  • Texting while driving is just as deadly as drinking and driving while over twice the legal limit.
  • Answering a text takes away your attention for about five seconds. Traveling at 55 mph, that's enough time to travel the length of a football field.
  • Texting while driving causes a 400% increase in time spent with eyes off the road.
  • Of all cell phone related tasks, texting is by far the most dangerous activity.
  • 94% of drivers support a ban on texting while driving.
  • 74% of drivers support a ban on hand-held cell phone use.

What Can We Do?

In March of 2010, AT&T launched the “It Can Wait” campaign to bring awareness to the issue, and to encourage people to put down their phones while driving. You can take the pledge yourself today at https://www.itcanwait.com/pledge. They also encourage the downloading of their free “DRIVEMODE” app, which minimizes phone distractions while you’re driving. Keep yourself safe, and keep others safe on the road.



"Driver Electronic Device Use in 2010." Traffic Safety Facts: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. December 2011.

"State lawmakers try to curb driver distractions." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. October 2007.

"Teen texting is OTT, even at wheel." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. July 2007.

"Bill would require motorists to unhand their phones." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. June 2006.

"PennDOT Teen Driver Safety Week News Release." Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. October 22, 2008.

"Cellphones and Driving." Insurance Information Institute. October 2008.

"AMA acts against trans fats, texting while driving." Washington Post. November 10, 2008.

"Teen Texting is OTT, Even at Wheel." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. July 17, 2007.

"Distractions Challenge Teen Drivers." USA Today. January 26, 2007.

"Distracted Driving 2009." National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. September 2010.

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"Distracted Driving and Driver, Roadway, and Environmental Factors." National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. September 2010.

"Most U.S. Drivers Engage in 'Distracted' Driving Behaviors." USAToday.com. December 1, 2011.

"2012 Distracted Driving Attitudes and Behaviors Survey." NHTSA.

"2011 National Occupant Protection Use Survey on Driver Electronics Use." NHTSA.

"2011 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Distracted Driving 2011." National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

"Distracted Driving – What Research Shows and What States Can Do." Governors Highway Safety Association. 2011.

National Safety Council.

"New Pennsylvania law not yet putting a dent in texting while driving." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. April 11, 2013.

“What is Distracted Driving? Key Facts and Statistics” NHTSA National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Schroeder, P., Meyers, M., & Kostuniuk, L. (2013, April). National survey on distracted driving attitudes and behaviors – 2012. (Report No. DOT HS 811 729). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "Distracted Driving 2013." National Highway Traffic Safety

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