For the second consecutive year, New Mexico ranked as the state with the most distracted driving in the country, receiving a severity score of 99.98, according to a recent report from Zutobi. Moreover, in that state, 101 male drivers were involved in fatal distracted driving crashes compared with 33 female drivers.
New Mexico reported 139 distracted driving crashes in 2020. The state also reported 10 distracted driving deaths for every 100,000 drivers, and 38% of all fatal crashes in the state were due to distracted driving.
Other states that made the top 10 list for distracted driving include Kansas, which came in as the second worst state with a severity score of 51.21. In Kansas, nearly 22% of all fatal crashes in 2020 were linked to distracted driving. Louisiana ranked third worst (50.19) in the nation with nearly 20% of all fatal crashes connected to distracted driving.
These states are followed by Wyoming with a severity score of 49.8, Kentucky (34.66), Illinois (31.84), New Jersey (30.31), Hawaii (30.25), Washington (29.55), and Virginia (26.42).
The Zutobi report also explores who is most prone to distracted driving. Men are more than twice as likely to be involved in a fatal distracted driving accident compared to women. Male drivers were distracted in 2,125 fatal crashes in 2020, whereas women drivers were only distracted in 781 fatal crashes during the same period.
Distracted driving refers to any actions that take the driver’s eyes or mind off the road and/or hands off the wheel. Behind-the-wheel behaviors like eating and drinking, grooming, fiddling with the radio or navigation system, texting or talking on the cell phone, even daydreaming, are all considered distracted driving.
Cell phone use can be particularly problematic. According to the Zutobi report, about 8% of crashes with injuries can be attributed to cell phones, with the percentage growing in relation to the severity of the accident. Cell phones are linked to about 13% of fatal distracted driving accidents. Speaking on a mobile phone while driving increases crash risk by two times, while texting increases the crash risk by up to six times.