Hawaii ranked fifth on a list of states with the most distracted-driving fatalities compiled by MoneyGeek, a personal finance website.
The San Francisco-based MoneyGeek analyzed 2017 to 2018 statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to determine which states had the highest rates of distracted driving — and found there was no clear correlation between texting bans and distracted driving fatalities.
New Mexico was the deadliest state for distracted driving, with 4.8 deaths per billion miles driven, while Kansas came in second, with 3.1 deaths per billion miles driven. Kentucky came in third, Louisiana fourth, and Hawaii fifth, with 2.6 deaths per billion miles driven.
Among the top five, only Hawaii has a law banning hand-held phones while driving. Kansas and Kentucky also ban texting while driving, but allow motorists to hold their phones behind the wheel.
Montana, which gives drivers free rein to use their phones while driving, had a safer-than-average rate of distracted-driving deaths.
The safest states were Mississippi, with just 0.23 distracted-driving deaths per billion miles driven, along with Rhode Island, with 0.25 deaths. California, despite its car culture, ranked near bottom, with only 0.4 deaths per billion miles driven.
Nationally, MoneyGeek found, there were 6,083 fatalities involving distracted driving in 2017 and 2018 over 6.45 trillion vehicle miles traveled, which equates to a rate of 0.94 deaths per billion vehicle miles.
Hawaii’s law prohibits the use of mobile electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle, according to the state Department of Transportation. The fine for violating this law starts at $297, more if in a school zone or construction area.
In December, Let’s Talk, a team of writers and editors covering phone plans, also named Hawaii one of the worst states for distracted driving deaths. Let’s Talk found that Hawaii experienced a 41% jump in distracted driving fatalities between 2015 and 2018.