A new study finds that Tennessee, Delaware, Wyoming, Texas, and Montana were the five worst states for distracted driving, and were responsible for 31% of all distracted driving fatalities from 2015 to 2017.
During that time period, more than 1,400 lost lives were attributed to collisions involving drivers that were manipulating their cell phones.
The fatality rate in Tennessee which topped the list — 7.2 distracted driving deaths per 10 billion vehicle miles — was nearly five-times the national average of 1.49 fatalities.
Despite having some of the strictest regulations for cellphones and driving, Delaware came in second with 3.28 distracted driving fatalities per 10 billion vehicle miles.
Wyoming, which has some of the most lax laws for driving and cellphone use, ranked third, with 3.22 distracted driving deaths. Texas followed with three and Montana placed fifth with 2.91 distracted driving deaths per 10 billion vehicle miles.
With the exception of Delaware, states with the strictest distracted driving regulations typically had the lowest number of these types of deaths. In 12 states and the District of Columbia, which have strict laws regarding handheld phone use, cellphone use for novice drivers and texting, there were 25% fewer distracted driving deaths per 10 billion vehicle miles compared to the national average.
Moreover, in the 16 states and the District of Columbia that completely ban handheld devices while driving, the distracted driving fatality rate was 44% lower than in states with no legislation or partial bans on using handheld devices while driving.
Washington D.C., Rhode Island, Nevada, Nebraska, New York and Mississippi had the lowest number of fatalities caused by distracted driving.
The study was conducted by ValuePenguin and drew on data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration.