Message Monday - The rise of distracted driving is disturbing

12-16 rise of distracted drivingDriver distraction has been an issue since the first vehicle tires hit the road. Whether the distraction was eating or drinking behind the wheel, dealing with a child in the backseat, holding a conversation with a passenger, or simply getting lost in thought, distractions are not new.

What has changed in the past decade is the increase in driver distraction caused by handheld devices. That mini-computer many can’t seem to put down opens up a world of communication and information at our fingertips but has also contributed to the rise in distracted driving crashes and fatalities.

When you look at the fatalities in Iowa due to distraction, the numbers don’t seem that bad. There were technically only 23 deaths directly attributed to distracted driving in 2018, although experience would tell us the number is much higher.  Hard data for distracted driving crashes and fatalities is difficult to come by. The limited data we do have comes from crash reports completed by law enforcement, who often cannot be sure that distraction was at fault in a crash.

Working to change America’s distracted driving statistic -

For 2019, there have been 312 fatalities reported. That’s an increase of seven since last Monday. The 2018 fatality count stands at 319. This is subject to change as law enforcement reports are completed. To see statistics published daily by the Bureau of Driver & Identification Services, go to the daily fatality report at

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