Distracted Driving - Background

What is Distracted Driving?

The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines Distracted Driving as:  "any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system - anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving." These activities are a direct threat to safety on America's roads.

Learn more

An American Epidemic

The NHTSA's latest Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes Report found that distracted driving took 3,450 lives in 2016 alone. That's an average of 9 deaths a day - last year nearly 1 out of every 10 fatal crashes involved a distracted driver. It's time to act - before one more life is lost or destroyed forever.

Read the 2016 Report

Trucking Sets the Tone to End Distracted Driving

In the U.S., all commercial motor vehicle drivers are prohibited from using any handheld mobile devices while driving. The U.S. Department of Transportation provides a handout outlining the regulations for CMV drivers. This model could easily be modified to create legislation banning distracted driving in all passenger vehicles nationwide.

See the Handout

The National Safety Council Takes On Distracted Driving

According to the NSC:  "Many distractions exist while driving, but cell phones are a top distraction because so many drivers use them for long periods of time each day. Almost everyone has seen a driver distracted by a cell phone, but when you are the one distracted, you often don't realize that driver is you."

See the NSC Page

Useful technology

Do Not Disturb (Android)


Step-by-Step instructions on how to activate your android cellphone's Do Not Disturb function while driving. This option prevents incoming calls or texts when you (or someone you love) is driving.

Do Not Disturb (iPhone)


iPhones with iOS 11 can automatically sense when you're driving. These simple directions allow your phone to automatically switch into "Do Not Disturb" mode when you're in motion.

Cellphone Blocking


 In 2016 alone, distracted driving killed 3,450 people. Did you know technology exists that could prevent many of those crashes? Cellphone blocking apps and devices can help drivers stay focused. They prevent phones from making or accepting calls, texting or accessing the internet.​ 

Other Distracted Driving Resources



Founded in 1995, DRIVE SMART Virginia is a non-profit organization working to raise awareness and change behavior in an effort to improve safety on Virginia roadways. The group endeavors to improve the lives of all Virginians through its public information and education initiatives.

Find out more



21-year old Casey Feldman was struck and killed by a distracted driver in July 2009. EndDD.org is a project of the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation, which was founded  in 2009 by Casey’s parents, Joel Feldman and Dianne Anderson. 

Visit the Website

Governors Highway Safety Association


There are many distractions which may prevent a driver from focusing on the complex task of driving. GHSA believes  the federal government should fund considerably more research to determine the scope and nature of the distracted driving problem, effective countermeasures and the effect of telematics on driving behavior. 

GHSA's Distracted Driving Page

Available Public Presentations


The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety/Highway Loss Data Institute website maintains an archive of public presentations on distracted driving.

Review the Archive

State Laws on Distracted Driving


The prevalence of cellular phones, new research, and publicized crashes has started many debates related to the role cell phones play in driver distraction. This chart details state cellular phone use and texting while driving laws.

See the Chart

World Health Organization


"With more and more people owning mobile phones, and the rapid introduction of new 'in-vehicle' communication systems, [distracted driving] is likely to escalate globally in the coming years. This Report focuses on the use of mobile phones while driving as one example of the broader problem of driver distraction."

Read the Report