Understanding the Dangers of Driving Distractions and Texting While Driving

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Distracted Driving
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Major Highlights From The 2019 Distracted Driving Study

Some have referred to distracted driving as the modern generation’s equivalent to the drunk driving epidemics of yesteryear. Given the growing rate of accidents and fatalities in the United States related to distracted driving, in particular instances related to handheld devices, the comparison is less crazy than you might think.

The recent 2019 Zendrive Distracted Driving Study emphasized that the problem was worse than ever. The study outlined several alarming pieces of data that emphasize just how big the problem is:

  • In 2018, just over 6,200 pedestrians were killed by distracted drivers
  • The nation’s number of distracted drivers increased by 10% in 2018
  • Distracted “phone addicts” have surpassed drunk drivers as the largest threat on the road

Distracted Driving Map

Phone Related Distracted Driving a Growing Threat

The 2019 Zendrive Distracted Driving Study defines “phone addicts” as individuals who are so distracted by their phones in their palms that they are unable to focus completely on the road. On average, these individuals spend six times as much time looking at their device while driving. As a result, they are a threat to everyone else on the road and cause crashes at a higher rate.

An older study, performed in 2006 by the University of Utah, identified why drivers distracted by mobile devices are so dangerous:

  • Drivers using their phones are 9% slower than drunk drivers at using their brakes
  • Drivers using their phone are 19% slower to accelerate from a stop compared do drunk drivers
  • Drivers using their phones on average driver more slowly and are more likely to get into a crash than drunk drivers

Best and Worst States for Distracted Driving

The 2019 Zendrive Distracted Driving Study analyzed data by state to determine the location of the country’s most and least attentive drivers. This information is smart to keep in mind when you take your next cross-country road trip. You can also make use of this info to see how dangerous your own state is when it comes to distracted driving.

These were the 10 worst states for distracted driving (~8% or more residents use their phones while driving) :

  1. Virginia
  2. Montana
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Georgia
  5. Mississippi
  6. New Mexico
  7. Michigan
  8. Connecticut
  9. Hawaii
  10. Maryland

These were the 10 best states for distracted driving (~7% or less residents use their phones while driving):

  1. Pennsylvania
  2. New York
  3. Oregon
  4. South Carolina
  5. South Dakota
  6. Alaska
  7. Louisiana
  8. Nevada
  9. Kentucky
  10. Texas

Recent Updates to Statewide Distracted Driving Laws

Lawmakers have begun to recognize the threat that distracted driving, especially with regard to mobile devices, poses to civilians. That’s why every few months a new state government decides to intervene. So far this year, new bills have been signed into law in Arizona and Florida:


In April 2019, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed a new law that would restrict the use of handheld devices while on the road (with a few exceptions). The ban as is written applies to several scenarios:

  • Holding or propping up a phone in any way with a body part is prohibited
  • Any form of text-based communication is prohibited
  • Watching video on a mobile device while driving is also now illegal in Arizona

The following cell phone use is allowed while driving:

  • Using a mobile device with a hand-free system
  • Texting via voice-based commands
  • Using a GPS system
  • When stopped at traffic or stop lights
  • When calling 911 in an emergency


In response to close to 50,000 auto accidents annually, Florida joined the ranks of states that have turned texting during driving into a major offense. The bill was signed by Governor Ron DeSantis in May 2019.

Prior to the new law being signed, police officers could only cite offenders for mobile device use if they were pulled over for another offense. Now police are able to hand out tickets for distracted driving, and all forms of wireless communication are banned in school and construction zones.

texting while driving

Distracted Driving Problems Facing the Phoenix Metro Area

Phoenix, Arizona is a beautiful, growing city where residents are mostly dependent on their cars to get around. As a result, distracted driving can be a big problem in Arizona. This 2017 annual data, collected by the Arizona Department of Transportation, reflects how serious the risks can be for local drivers.

Check out these facts before you get behind the wheel.

  • 2.74 Arizonans killed in auto accidents daily
  • 152 injuries related to auto accidents daily
  • Over 70% of crashes happened during the day
  • Vehicle accidents cost the state of Arizona over $10 billion annually

The data tells an even scarier story about distracted drivers in Arizona:

  • Among over 190,257 drivers in Arizona, approximately 25% drive distracted
  • Close to 3,000 distracted drivers are occupied with mobile phones and other electronic devices
  • Over 3,000 residents were guilty of trying to eat and drink while driving

More Distracted Driving Safety Tips

Considering how dangerous it can be to drive in Arizona on a daily basis, we feel that it’s very important to have a high standard for the quality of cars we sell. Our mission at Red Mountain Funding is to do what we can to help Arizonans find safe, reliable vehicles.

About Chris Weatherall

I’m a kid at heart disguised as an auto researcher and business owner. I’ve always enjoyed providing insight in the form of reviews (anime, video games, autos, etc.) When I’m not researching, I’m spending time with my family, driving my Dodge Challenger, riding my motorcycle, and finding new entrepreneurial pursuits.