Study links distracted driving death rates with cellphone laws

A new study suggests that distracted driving is factoring into more and more car accident fatalities. From 2015 to 2017, more than 1,400 people in the U.S. died in car crashes where one of the drivers was distracted by a cellphone. However, fatality rates differ by state. Ohio, which has no ban on handheld phone use and a partial ban on texting, ranked 26th with a distracted driving fatality rate of 1.26 people per 10 vehicle miles traveled.

Tennessee, Delaware, Wyoming, Texas and Montana saw the highest rates. In fact, fatalities in these five states comprised about 31 percent of the total from 2015 to 2017. These rates were determined by ValuePenguin after it analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. DOT’s Federal Highway Administration.

It appears that the strictness or laxity of cellphone laws goes a long way in determining distracted driving fatality rates. Rhode Island and Washington, D.C., each saw a rate of zero. Both have complete bans on texting and all other handheld phone use, including for novice drivers.

Of the five states with the highest rates, only Delaware has a complete ban on handheld phone use. In the 13 states that had the strictest cellphone laws, distracted driving fatality rates were nearly 30 percent lower than in the rest of the country.

Distracted driving is a form of negligence. Therefore, someone who has been hurt in an auto cash caused by a distracted driver could be eligible for compensation. It may be a good idea to have a lawyer evaluate the case and determine how much the victim might receive. Legal counsel can strive for a fair settlement with the auto insurance company or litigate.