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More Distracted Driving Tickets Mean Lower Fatal Crash Rates

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Distracted driving has become one of the deadliest risks we face on public roads, and state governments and law enforcement agencies are still struggling to find ways to stop it. After all, distracted driving now ranks as the leading overall cause of auto fatalities in some states. From raising insurance rates to strengthening penalties for distracted driving, states are trying everything to get people to just put their stupid phones down and pay attention to the two-ton killing machines they’re piloting. However, a new analysis has found that states which give out more tickets for distracted driving tend to have lower rates of fatal auto accidents. Coincidence, or common sense?

The report was compiled by online security services firm Safewise, which examined state laws concerning distracted driving and federal traffic safety data to look for statistical correlations between areas which punish distracted drivers and traffic deaths. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the report found that the states with the most tickets issued for distracted driving tend to have lower rates of auto fatalities overall.

The report breaks down the link between distracted driving laws and auto fatality rate by state. The top ten deadliest states in 2016 were found to be:

  1. Mississippi
  2. Alabama
  3. South Carolina
  4. New Mexico
  5. Wyoming
  6. Kentucky
  7. Montana
  8. Arkansas
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Louisiana

None of the top three states have a single law banning handheld phone use while driving. Meanwhile, the states with the best enforcement of distracted driving bans based on tickets issued per driver are as follows:

  1. Delaware
  2. New York
  3. DC
  4. New Jersey
  5. Hawaii
  6. Connecticut
  7. California
  8. Illinois
  9. Nevada
  10. West Virginia

Delaware, New York, and DC are also among the top five places where drivers are least likely to get in a fatal accident. New York is one of the few states which adds points to drivers’ licenses for distracted driving. Are more frequent, harsher tickets the answer to keeping the roads safe from distracted drivers?

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