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Fewer California Distracted Driving Deaths in 2009

Posted on Sep 22, 2010

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced that in 2009, American car crash deaths fell to 33,808, the lowest number since 1950.  The big surprise is the announcement that fatal car crashes linked to distracted driving also fell - by 6 percent last year.  Despite the drop, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that distracted driving accidents remain at “epidemic” levels and says that the Department of Transportation will remain dedicated to stopping distracted driving.
According to NHTSA data, there were 5,838 crashes linked to distracted drivers in 2008.  The number dropped to 5,474 deaths in 2009. However, in both years distracted driving crashes accounted for 16 percent of all road fatalities in 2009.
In addition to the 5,474 lives lost to distracted driving last year, 448,000 people were injured in distracted driving accidents.
2009 also saw the lowest fatality and injury rates ever recorded: 1.13 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2009, compared to 1.26 deaths for 2008.  In fact, fatalities decreased across all categories of motor vehicles - including motorcycles. The decline represents the first decrease in motorcycle crash deaths in 11 years.
Driving while texting or talking on a phone without a hands-free device is illegal in California.

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