Indicate whether the officer suspects a driver was distracted based on verbal or physical evidence and not on speculation alone.


Indicates the presence and type of distractions which may have influenced the driver performance. The distractions can be inside the motor vehicle (internal) or outside the motor vehicle (external). This includes distractions that may have influenced driver performance, involving an action taken by the driver and the source of the distraction.


This element is important for identifying specific driver behaviors during a crash and understanding and mitigating the effects of distracting activities.

Code Attribute Definition Example
0 Not Distracted This attribute indicates that the driver was attentive to the driving task in the officer’s assessment.
1 Manually Operating an Electronic Device (Texting, Typing, Dialing) The driver was in the act of manually manipulating an electronic communication device (cell phone, smart phone, hand-held radio, etc.). The types of device manipulation include dialing, texting, and typing.
2 Talking on Hands-Free Electronic Device The driver was conversing using a hands-free electronic device such as a Bluetooth equipped headset/earpiece or vehicle-integrated system.
3 Talking on Hand-Held Electronic Device The driver was conversing on a hand-held electronic device such as a cell phone.
4 Other Activity, Electronic Device (Navigation System, DVD Player, Etc.) The driver was in the act of using an electronic device for some purpose other than communicating, such as operating a navigation device, playing a game, or watching a video. If this attribute is used, an explanation in the narrative is recommended.
5 Other Activity (Searching, Eating, Personal Hygiene, Etc.) Other distractions inside the vehicle affecting the driver. This may include actions taken by the driver such as eating, drinking, smoking, etc., or distractions within the vehicle originating from neither the driver nor passengers, such as a pet or flying insect. If this attribute is used, an explanation in the narrative is recommended.
6 Passenger Occupant of motor vehicle other than the driver. In regard to driver distraction, a passenger can be the source of distraction affecting the driver.
7 External Distraction (Outside the Vehicle) Driver distractions that occur outside the vehicle, such as a crash in the next lane or on the other side of the median, automated highway signs, interesting objects in the sky, fire off the roadway, etc.
99 Unknown This attribute indicates, that in the officer’s assessment, it is not known if the driver was attentive to the driving task or distracted at the time of the crash.


If the driver was not distracted, please record code 0 (Not Distracted).

In situations where the vehicle is parked and the driver is not present or a hit/run, the driver last name may be entered as UNKNOWN or PARKED, and then this field is exempt and may be left empty.

Accuracy Checks

  • If Driver Distracted By indicates a valid value other than ‘not distracted’, then Driver Contributing Code should indicate ‘distracted’.

Other Related Fields

Driver Contributing Code

Data Quality Audit Results

Report Type Acceptable Inconsistent Invalid Empty
Local Police (electronic) 287 85.2% 5 1.5% 2 0.6% 43 12.8%
Local Police (paper) 290 89.2% 1 0.3% 34 10.5%
State Police (electronic)
Total 577 87.2% 5 0.8% 3 0.5% 77 11.6%

The Driver Distracted By field had the highest frequency of unacceptable information in the driver section of the report, having been completed in 87 percent of the reports reviewed. Most of the remaining reports had left the distracted field empty. Auditors commented that informal policies varied by department, sometimes requiring that a citation be issued in order to use this field. Furthermore, law enforcement auditors stated that responses to this field can be questioned in court and therefore only complete this field if they can verify it, and also issue a citation.