The ranking is based on the following metrics and points pertaining to distracted driving:
Distracted crash fatalities rate per 100k drivers* - No. of distracted crash fatalities
per 100k drivers weighted by the number of drivers registered in that state.
Distracted crash injuries rate per 100k drivers* - No. of distracted crash injuries per
100k drivers weighted by the number of drivers registered in that state.
Overall hand-held ban - Law prohibiting use of handheld devices while driving.
Phone ban - School bus driver - Law prohibiting bus drivers from using a cellphone.
Phone ban - Novice drivers - Law prohibiting drivers <18 from using a cellphone while
Overall texting ban - Law prohibiting texting while driving.
Texting ban - School bus - Law prohibiting bus drivers from texting while driving.
Texting ban - Novices - Law prohibiting drivers <18 from texting while driving.
Minimum fine for distracted driving, $ - Minimum fines for offenses.
Fine increase for repeat offences - Minimum fines for repeated offense.
Further penalties - Loss of license, or jail time.
Each metric was assigned a numeric weight, with the total weight of all metrics adding up to
The states received a score on each of the metrics. States with the highest scores were deemed
strictest, while states with the lowest scores - most lenient.
Numeric factors (fatalities, crashes, fines) were scored proportionally, whereby a higher/lower
value was assigned a higher/lower score. Legislation factors were scored on a qualitative basis,
whereby the harshest bans and penalties received the maximum score, bans with concessions for,
e.g. driver’s age - a reduced score, absence of bans or penalties - a score of 0.
*For all states, # of fatal crashes involving a distracted driver was collated by querying the
centralised NHTSA fatal crashes database. Each state's number of qualifying crashes was then
weighted by the number of drivers registered in that state to reflect the rate of crashes per
*For all states, # of non-fatal injury crashes was collected from official websites of local
transportation authorities. This number was then multiplied by the typical % of non-fatal
crashes involving a distracted driver (14%), based on the research conducted by the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The resulting estimated number of injury crashes
involving a distracted driver was then weighted by the number of drivers registered in that
state to reflect the rate of crashes per 100,000 drivers.
Information around the legislation was sourced from Governors Highway Safety Administration, National Conference of State Legislatures, as well as
legal portals such as HandsFreeInfo
Statistics on impaired driving fatalities were taken from the National
Highway Safety Administration (NHWA), whereas data on impaired driving injuries was
sourced from transportation authorities in each of the US states and DC.
Data on the number of registered drivers was compiled from the Highway Statistics series produced by the Federal Highway Administration.