Study Shows Distracted Driving Is Changing, But Risks Remain

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Statement for attribution to Governors Highway Safety Association Director of Policy and Government Relations Russ Martin

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) thanks the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for conducting ongoing research to better understand the prevalence of distracted driving and its role in traffic crashes. IIHS’ study validates what all drivers  see every day: the pervasive use of wireless devices behind the wheel. Further, additional national data supports the finding that rather than making voice calls, more drivers are now manipulating smartphones to text, use apps or access the Internet.

IIHS found that the though the nature of distracted driving has changed between 2014 and 2018, the overall incidence has remained the same, suggesting that the traffic safety community needs to do more to address this issue, including changing social norms, strengthening and enforcing distracted driving laws and improving data collection. We should also harness technology as part of the solution to the problem it has provoked by promoting tools like smartphone apps and settings that block incoming wireless communications while driving.

GHSA is proud to partner with AT&T on the “It Can Wait” campaign, which, in addition to having amassed pledges from more than 35 million people committing to drive without distraction, is joining forces with state highway safety offices and hosting educational events nationwide to change the culture surrounding distracted driving. To learn more, visit

As we push toward zero roadway fatalities, today’s announcement is a reminder that there is much more work to be done.

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About GHSA

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit Find us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter @GHSAHQ.