Deaths caused by distracted driving in Florida and other states rose 22 percent in five years, new research reveals.

The study – published in the Journal of the American Medical Association – shows the deadly consequences of talking on cell phones and texting behind the wheel.

In the year 2011 alone, more than 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving crashes. Text messaging while driving has been shown to make it 23 times more likely to cause a wreck.

As a result, distracted driving has become a focus of enforcement efforts by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

This is from a summary of the JAMA report:

In the United States, vehicular crashes and collisions continue to be a primary cause of injury and fatalities, and distracted driving is an increasing problem. Despite significant declines in total crash-related fatalities, deaths related to driver distraction increased by 22 percent between 2005 and 2009.

In 2003, the use of cell phones while behind the wheel caused approximately 333,000 total injuries, 12,000 serious to critical injuries, and 2,600 fatalities on an annual basis.

A more recent study established that, from 2001 to 2007, growing texting volumes was assessed to result in over 16,000 additional motor vehicle-related fatalities.
The study recommends that governments take new approaches to curb distracted driving.

Following are some number from the NHTSA:

  • In 2011, 3,331 individuals died in vehicular accidents involving a distracted driver, compared to 3,267 individuals killed in 2010. An additional 387,000 people were injured in 2011, compared to the 416,000 in 2010.
  • In 2010, 18 percent of injury crashes were reported as crashes related to distracted driving.
  • In June 2011, 196 billion text messages were sent or received in the U.S., up nearly 50 percent from June 2009.
  • Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to be involved in serious crashes.
  • Headset cell phone use is not considerably safer compared to hand-held use.