A recent study analyzed what it called the public health threat of distracted driving to a rise in pedestrian deaths. The increase in pedestrian deaths is dramatic. From 2005 to 2010, the number of bicyclists and pedestrians killed by distracted drivers rose 50 percent. Many of those distracted drivers were using cell phones to talk, text or access the Internet. The study may not even capture the full scope of the problem as distracted driving is not always easily identified as the cause of a deadly accident.
The data used for the study came from the U.S. Fatality Analysis Reporting System. The system attributed 344 pedestrian deaths to distracted drivers in 2005. In 2010, that number had risen to 500. Bicyclist deaths attributed to distracted drivers rose from 56 to 73 in the same time period. The group most commonly associated with deadly distracted driving was white males in the 25 to 64 age range.