Florida is a top state for distraction-related automobile deaths, according to data from MoneyGeek.
In the report, MoneyGeek analyzed which states have the highest rates of distracted driving fatalities to find the places in the U.S. where distracted driving takes the biggest toll. To do this, the financial website calculated the distracted driving fatality rate for each state by accessing distracted driving fatality information provided by NHTSA and combining that with state highway usage provided by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. We looked at trends across years and compared state fatality rates against the national average.
The Sunshine State landed at No. 14 on the list, with a total of 514 distracted driving fatalities from 2019 to 2020. The only state to record more distraction-related driving deaths over that period was Texas — which ranked No. 13 — with 665. Notably, New Mexico had the highest rate of distracted driving fatalities for the third year in a row. It had twice the distracted driving fatality rate as Louisiana, which had the second-highest rate.
Last year was also a deadly year for Florida motorists.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) and its division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) launched a campaign at the beginning of April, in honor of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, aimed at educating Florida motorists on the importance of avoiding distracted driving. According to FLHSMV data, distracted driving crashes resulted in 333 fatalities in 2021 – the highest recorded in Florida in at least 8 years.
“When you get behind the wheel you only have one job, and that’s to ensure you and your passengers reach your destination safely,” said FLHSMV Executive Director Terry Rhodes. “More than 56,000 distracted driving crashes happened last year in Florida alone, and 75% of those crashes were caused by the driver being inattentive behind the wheel. Today and every day, pledge to drive how you would want others to drive around you and your loved ones – distraction free.”
On average, there were more than 1,000 distracted driving crashes every week across Florida last year.
“It is extremely dangerous when you drive distracted on Florida roadways,” said Colonel Gene Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “FHP wants to remind drivers to keep their hands on the wheel, eyes on the road, and their minds on driving. Focused attention on driving increases your reaction time to dangerous driving situations and keeps the ones you love safe as well as your fellow citizen.”