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Texting and Driving Statistics

Texting and driving is a problem, but only getting worse. These texting and driving statistics will show you exactly how bad the problem is.

It should be common knowledge by now that texting while driving is extremely dangerous.

In fact, it’s fatal.

If you thought teen drunk driving was dangerous and fatal, wait until you check out the facts about texting and driving below.

Chances are, you’ll be appalled at the statistics.

  • Maybe you need to know some of these statistics for your driver’s ed course.
  • Maybe you’re just curious.
  • Or maybe you’re trying to prove a point.

Whatever your reason for wanting to see texting and driving statistics, we are happy to provide these sobering statistics if it means saving even just one life.

These 20 Texting and Driving Statistics Will Shock You

Ready to learn the truth about texting and driving?

Take a look at these devastating facts about texting and driving that will show you that reaching for the phone is never a good idea when you’re driving.

Don’t become another statistic; the text can wait.

vector graphic showing an illustrative image that shows icons and elements of texting and driving statistics

Drunk driving causes 28 deaths a day in the US, approximately one death every 52 minutes.

Although not as lethal as a drunk driver, statistics show that distracted driving causes nearly nine deaths per day.

Young drivers who are more likely to be on their cell phones would be expected to have a higher rate of car accidents than adults.

However, anyone can get distracted by cell phone use and cause a crash.

Texting and Driving Statistics About Why Texting Causes Distractions

  • Texting takes longer than you think—the average time a text takes is 5 seconds, which means if you’re driving at 55 miles per hours, you’re driving the length of a football field without your eyes on the road. Yikes!
  • Texting while driving causes a whopping 400% increase in the amount of time spent with eyes off the road.
  • The reaction part of the brain slows down by about 33% when the driver is distracted by a cell phone.

Usage Statistics About Texting and Driving

  • At any given time during the day, approximately 660,000 drivers attempt to use their phones while behind the wheel of a car.
  • You can be charged with murder for texting and driving.
  • In a study reported in 2012, 70% of people could not go without their phones for 24 hours.
  • Ninety-four percent of drivers support a ban on texting while driving.

Texting and Driving Statistics About Accidents

  • The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes every year.
  • Almost 390,000 injuries occur each year from accidents caused by texting and driving.
  • One out of every four car accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving.
  • Twenty-one percent of teen drivers involved in fatal accidents were distracted by their cell phones.
  • In 2015, nearly 3,500 people were killed in distracted driving accidents, and another 391,000 were injured.

Teenagers Vs Adults: Texting and Driving Statistics

Teen drivers and young adults have less experience behind the wheel and can not afford to be distracted on the road.

In 2018, one-in-four fatal distracted driving crashes involved young adults between the ages of 20-29 in the US.

Teen drivers are even more likely to be distracted while driving.

Nine percent of teenagers that died in a car crash were a direct result of distracted driving.  

  • Teen drivers are 4 times more likely than adults to get into car accidents while texting or talking on a cell phone.
  • Cell phone use is highest among 16 to 24-year-old drivers.
  • Ninety percent of teens expect a reply to their texts within minutes.
  • According to a AAA poll, 94% of teenage drivers acknowledge the dangers of texting and driving, yet 35% admitted to doing it anyway.
  • Forty percent of teen drivers admitted in a poll they have participated in texting and driving in the past 30 days.
  • Eleven teens die every day as a result of texting and driving.

Adults typically have more driving experience than teens or novice drivers.

Adults are also less likely to be texting friends or distracted by an incoming message.

This does not mean that adults cannot be distracted.

Although drivers aged 15-29 accounted for 14% of distracted driving deaths in 2018, adults aged 30-59 were also responsible for 14% of motor vehicle crash deaths due to distracted driving.

Adults should know better.

Texting and Driving Statistics About Impaired Driving

  • Texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than driving drunk.
  • One study found that distracted drivers experience a 35% decline in reaction time, whereas drunk drivers only experience a 12% decline, making texting while driving more dangerous than drunk driving.

There is no doubt that texting while driving is extremely dangerous, and hopefully, these facts about texting and driving helped drive that point home.

Texting and Driving Statistics from Past Years

Here is a look at the trend in distracted driving fatalities over the past several years.

Year Driving Fatalities Motor Vehicle FatalitiesDistracted
















A quick scan of texting and driving statistics shows that the number of motor vehicle fatalities and the percentage caused by distracted driving is eerily consistent.

This has led to states increasing the punishment for distracted driving violations to include steeper fines and higher insurance rates.

The Dangers of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving has resulted in car accidents since the invention of the automobile.

However, over the past twenty-five years since cell phones have become a way of life, the number of distracted-related accidents has grown immensely.

Traffic safety should be your number one priority every time you take control of a motor vehicle.

Distracted driving can be anything that takes your focus away from the road, not just cell phone usage.

However, distracted driving facts show that cellphones are the most common problem.  

Texting and driving is not the only distraction that results in car accidents.

There are many ways a driver can be distracted other than by cell phone use:

  • Daydreaming
  • Eating and drinking
  • Adjusting the radio or programming the GPS
  • Talking to another passenger
  • Playing music too loudly
  • Reading billboards and signs
  • Smoking
  • Looking for something in a purse or the glove compartment
  • Unruly kids in the backseat or an unrestrained pet

Being aware of the types of things that can take your focus away from the safe operation of your vehicle can help you avoid distracted driving accidents and personal injury.  

Distracted Driving: The Four Types

As noted, drivers can be distracted by many different things other than cell phones.

But understanding how a driver can be distracted can go a long way to avoiding a car crash.

1. Visual

Texting and driving break the number one safe driving rule: Keep your eyes on the road.

When you are visually distracted, your eyes are looking elsewhere.

Trying to read or respond to a text, gawking at an accident you pass by or checking out the message on a billboard are all visual distractions that take your eyes off the road.

2. Auditory

Sound can be a major distraction while driving.

If your kids are making noise in the back seat or if your car starts to make an unusual sound, your focus will be drawn to that.

As soon as what you are hearing captures your attention, you have been distracted and your focus is not on driving.

3. Manual

A manual distraction may mean your eyes are still on the road, but you are doing something that affects the ability to operate your vehicle safely.

For example, adjusting the radio or using the GPS takes a hand away from the wheel.

Eating, drinking, or smoking all do the same thing.

You may be watching where you are going, but you are engaged in an action that distracts you from safe driving.

4. Cognitive

A cognitive distraction is another way that your attention is taken away from driving.

When you are thinking about something else, your focus is not on traffic safety.

When you are behind the wheel, you should be thinking about driving and nothing else.

Frequently Asked Questions About Texting and Driving

Below are the most common questions about texting and driving and their answers.

Is texting while driving illegal?

Texting while driving is illegal in 48 states as well as the District of Columbia.

Novice drivers have further restrictions imposed on them since they are the most likely to be distracted by texting while driving.

Is hands-free a safer alternative to using a cell phone?

Hands-free technology does make driving somewhat safer since you can keep both hands on the wheel.

However, there is still the danger of a cognitive distraction, as you can be so focused on your conversation that you lose your attention on driving.

Can I text while stopped at a red light?

While it may be safer to send a text message at a red light than when you are driving, it is still a distraction.

You should have all of your attention on the road when behind the wheel, not on your cell phone.

If using your cell phone is necessary, it is best to safely pull over and park before sending a text message or any other cellphone use.

Can I lose my license for texting and driving?

In many states, a texting and driving violation will add points to your driving record.

In addition to a monetary fine and increased insurance rates, too many points could get your license suspended followed by a year-long probation.

Texting and Driving Laws by State

The laws for using a cellphone vary across the US, however, 48 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S.

The Virgin Islands have all banned texting while driving for all drivers.

Thirty-seven states and D.C. have banned novice drivers from using a cellphone to send or receive a text message when driving while 25 states apply the law to all drivers.

Texas was one of the few states that did not have a ban on texting and driving, but a new bill has been proposed that will make the violation a primary offense with a fine of $99 for a first-time offender and a $200 fine for repeat offenders.

Other states are increasing the severity of fines to crack down on the texting and driving epidemic.

In Arkansas, a texting violation for a first-time offender will be $250 and $500 for a second offense.

These fines are doubled if the texting distraction results in a car crash.

States like Virginia and Oklahoma have focused on educating drivers about the dangers involved with texting and driving.

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute conducts research on transportation to save lives and advance public policy on a national level time.

Driver training courses are mandated to include information related to distracted driving to decrease cell phone use and improve traffic safety.

How Texting and Driving Impact Your Insurance

Texting and driving is a threat to highway safety and is punishable by fines and increased auto insurance rates.

Depending on the insurer and state laws, insurance rates will spike between 12%-45% for texting and driving violations.

California leads the way with the sharpest increase in car insurance rates for texting and driving tickets.

Insurance will increase by 45% or $776 for breaking the distracted driving law.

Ohio, Indiana, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts impose an increase in insurance rates by 34%.

The national average is a 23% car insurance rate increase, with the intent to dissuade drivers from texting and driving to avoid unnecessary car accidents.

Texting and driving violations can add points to your driving record which will also increase insurance rates.

New York, Virginia, and Nebraska will add three or more points to your license for texting and driving.

Insurance companies in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida will disqualify driver discounts for texting and driving violations.

Companies also have to be aware of their drivers’ activities while on the road.

A distracted driving accident while on the job makes the company liable, costing a great deal of money.

Preventative Measures to Stop Texting and Driving

There is one sure-fire method to stop texting and driving and other driver distractions: common sense.

vector graphic showing a person driving on an average us commute

You are in charge of a 4000-pound vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed.

You might want to pay attention to what you are doing.

Do not allow yourself to get distracted by the radio, eating, applying makeup, or texting a friend that you are almost there.

You may not make it.

If you are a passenger and you see a distracted driver using a cell phone, speak up.

Remind a texting driver to focus on the road, for everyone’s safety.

As a passenger, you can be the co-pilot.

  • You look at the map or GPS.
  • You work the radio.

Do the things that may distract a driver so that they can focus on the road.

Another deterrent to texting and driving is the consequences if an accident does occur.

State laws can help prevent distracted driving before it becomes a habit.

Talk to your kids about cell phone use and text messages before they try for their driving license.

The National Safety Council (NSC) helps to motivate and educate employees to be safe, responsible drivers.

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is also committed to car and motorcycle safety and working towards zero roadway fatalities.

Monetary fines for breaking distracted driving laws, license suspension, and a steep increase in car insurance are a few examples of negative outcomes for cell phone use.

In a worst-case scenario, a serious crash caused by distracted driving that results in a serious injury or wrongful death could be grounds for jail time.

Put the Cell Phone Down and Raise Awareness

Texting and driving is a triple threat.

You are visually looking at your cell phone and not the road, you are manually using your cell phone with at least one hand, and whatever message you are typing is a cognitive distraction.

Little wonder that texting and driving lead to so many car accidents and preventable deaths.

That text is not as important as getting to your destination safely and in one piece.

If you are about to get behind the wheel, think ahead and use your cell phone before you start driving.

Encourage others to do the same.

To avoid becoming a number on a fact sheet, stay vigilant with practicing safe driving.

If you need to rectify a ticket or court order for texting and driving, consider signing up with one of the best online traffic schools.

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