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Lightning is a major cause of distribution line outages affecting reliability of power supply thus, consequently, resulting in economic losses. The lightning performance of overhead distribution lines is associated with line insulation flashover due to direct and nearby lightning strokes. The present paper introduces a statistical method for the estimation of the flashover rate of overhead distribution lines. The proposed method, implementing a recently introduced statistical lightning attachment model and the simplified coupling model suggested by the IEEE Std. 1410:2011, yields a range for the expected flashover rate of distribution lines associated with lightning interception probability distribution of the line conductors. It also provides the means to easily quantify the effects of line parameters, soil resistivity, shielding of nearby objects and lightning crest current distribution on lightning performance of distribution lines. Results of the statistical method, discussed and compared with that obtained by the IEEE Std. 1410:2011, are in close consistency with field data.