While distracted driving is a growing and deadly problem nationwide, new research shows that Hawaii sees more than its fair share of fatalities resulting from motorists driving while distracted. According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Hawaii ranked fifth in the nation in terms of the number of distracted driving deaths it saw on state roadways in 2017 and 2018.
Hawaii saw 2.6 deaths for every billion miles that motorists covered within that time, trailing only behind Louisiana, Kentucky, Kansas and New Mexico. Also notable is the fact that, between 2015 and 2018, there was a 41% uptick in the number of distracted driving deaths seen across Hawaii.
Nationally, there were a total of 6,083 distracted driving-related fatalities across the United States in 2017 and 2018, with 0.94 deaths occurring for every billion miles traveled. The safest state in the nation as far as distracted driving goes during that timeframe was Mississippi, where there were 0.23 distracted driving fatalities for every billion miles traveled.
The new research regarding distracted driving across the nation also reveals that laws some states enact to prevent texting and driving or the use of handheld phones do little, if anything, to save lives. Hawaii has laws in place preventing the use of handheld cellphones while driving, but it finds itself listed among the top five states for distracted driving anyway. Kansas and Kentucky also have laws in place banning texting behind the wheel, but both states also made the top five states for distracted driving fatalities. Montana, meanwhile, which allows motorists to use their cellphones pretty much whenever they like, had a lower-than-average distracted driving fatality rate.
While following all laws and focusing your attention solely on driving should reduce your chances of involvement in a distracted driving-related car crash, research shows that you should not count on other Hawaii motorists doing the same. Thus, it is essential that you become even more vigilant when you get behind the wheel to help reduce the odds of a wreck.