Types of Distracted Driving and Why it’s a Huge Problem Right Now

Find out if you're getting ripped off on your car insurance in less than two minutes.
Find insurance savings (100% Free)
No long forms · No spam · No fees
Why you can trust Jerry
Jerry partners with some of the companies we write about. However, our content is written and reviewed by an independent team of editors and licensed insurance agents, and never influenced by our partnerships. Learn more baout how we make money, review our editorial standards, reference out data methodology, or view a list of our partners
Distracted driving is a dangerous and serious matter that both directly and indirectly impacts countless lives every day. This practice is defined by the CDC as “driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving.” This could mean anything from texting, to eating, to letting your mind wander while at the wheel. 
Statistics show that the amount of people driving while distracted is increasing more and more every day, and without change, those numbers are only going to continue rising. In this article, we’ll go over examples of distracted driving, the most recent statistics on the matter, and what you can do to protect yourself and others. 
Manual distracted driving is anything that forces you to take your hands off the wheel, like texting.

What are the 3 types of distracted driving?

The CDC has identified three types of distracted driving: visual, manual, and cognitive. 
  • Visual Distracted Driving: This involves any activity in which your eyes are physically off the road. This includes but isn’t limited to, looking at billboards or other surroundings while driving, glancing at your GPS or entertainment system, or looking at a passenger in the vehicle while driving.
  • Manual Distracted Driving: This type of distracted driving is probably what comes to mind for most people when they hear the term. Manual distracted driving is anything that forces you to take your hands off the wheel. This includes but isn’t limited to texting, eating and drinking, adjusting the radio or temperature, putting on makeup, or taking off a coat.
  • Cognitive Distracted Driving: This is a type of distracted driving people often don’t even recognize as falling into the category. Cognitive distracted driving involves taking your mind off driving. Examples include daydreaming while driving or being too engrossed in a conversation to pay attention to the road. 

Distracted driving statistics

The most recent statistics on distracted driving are startling. According to the CDC, about eight people are killed in crashes reported to involve a distracted driver every single day. To put this number in perspective, that means about 3,000 people die in crashes related to distracted drivers every single year. This number doesn’t take into account the countless amount of lives that are forever changed through losing a loved one to distracted driving. 
Those most at risk to participate in distracted driving are teen and young adult drivers. In 2018, 25% of drivers involved in fatal crashes were young adults aged 20-29, the CDC reports. Additionally, drivers aged 15-19 were more likely to be distracted drivers than drivers aged 20 and older, in instances where there was a fatal crash. 

Tips to prevent distracted driving

You can help prevent distracted driving, and be prepared for the worst case scenario where it happens in your life, as both a driver and a passenger in a vehicle. Here’s how you can fight against distracted driving.
As a driver:
  • Do not multitask while driving. Keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
  • Invest in reliable collision coverage, in case you come in contact with a distracted driver. 
  • Use apps to help you avoid touching your phone while driving. 
  • Know your state laws about distracted driving.
As a passenger:
  • Speak up if you see the driver of your vehicle doing something distracting.
  • Assist with tasks like navigation or changing the radio. 
  • Know your state laws about distracted driving. 

Compare Car Insurance for Your Car

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

√
No long forms
√
No spam or unwanted phone calls
√
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings — it's 100% free