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28+Texting And Driving Statistics Every Driver Should Know

Last modified: Jul 25, 2023

Most definitions describe texting and driving as the practice of using a mobile device to compose, read, and send texts, chat messages, or emails while being behind the wheel. Many analysts believe that it is extremely dangerous to talk on the phone while operating a motor vehicle — hence why it represents one of the most irresponsible activities that a driver could do while driving.

In this article, we will go through some of the most relevant texting and driving statistics, in order to shed some new light on why so many jurisdictions have outlawed the practice. Likewise, we will be covering texting and driving-related deaths, demographics, rates of smartphone usage behind the wheel, overall dangers, as well as its impact on insurance premiums. Hopefully, this article will also serve as educational material for all guilty parties and deter them from such practices.

Continue reading if you want to find out more about this topic.

Most Intriguing Distracted Driving Stats and Facts — (Editor’s Choice)


Texting and Driving Laws in the US

1.Washington D.C. and 47 other states prohibit texting while driving

The most recent state to enforce laws prohibiting texting while driving is Texas, where they have banned the practice of texting while driving altogether since mid-2017.

The laws of Montana and Arizona do not have a penalty for texting and driving, and in Missouri, only drivers aged 21 and younger or those with a commercial driving license are prohibited from texting while driving.  

2.The highest driving and texting fines are in Virginia where the charge for a first offense is a $20 fine

The $20 fine for texting and driving in Virginia is for a first offense. If you are involved in a subsequent violation, the fine goes up to $50.

It is important to note that texting while driving is a secondary offense in the Old Dominion state, which means that you have to be cited for a different traffic violation before you can be charged with texting and driving ticket.

3. On the other hand, states like Alaska can levy a maximum fine of $10,000, plus a maximum of 10 days in prison for a first offense

This penalty for texting and driving is as true as it is harsh. Even if you are caught texting and driving in Alaska, for the first time, it is still considered a misdemeanor by the state. You may end up paying up to $10,000 and facing up to 10 days in prison.

It is important to avoid a cell phone ticket in states such as Alaska if you value your freedom and money. They take these offenses very seriously and so should you.

Texting and Driving Death Statistics

4. The largest death toll per 10 billion miles driven belongs to the state of Tennessee, as can be seen from the (top ten) table down below:

Distracted Driving Death Statistics by State
StateNo. of deaths for every 10 billion miles driven
North Dakota2.74

Source: Value Penguin

5. The number of texting and driving crashes in the US has increased over the years, as can be seen from the yearly death toll table below:

YearNo. of deaths caused by distracted driving
20123,328 deaths
20133,154 deaths
20153.477 deaths
20163.450 deaths
20173,166 deaths
20184,637 deaths

There are numerous arguments that try to explain why the number of said accidents is on the rise. Some of these include the rising popularity of smartphones, the fact that we are more connected than ever before, lack of overall traffic safety educational efforts, as well as the lack of penalties and adequate fines for smartphone usage while driving in several US states.

Source: Edgar Snyder

Demographics — Adults Texting and Driving Statistics

6. Teen drivers are the most likely to be distracted behind the wheel. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, “distraction was a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes”

Car crashes are still the leading cause of death for teens in the US and distracted driving accidents are a major cause of these deaths. AAA Foundation reports that six out of every ten moderate-to-severe teen crashes were caused by distracted driving.

A major part of these distractions is the growing number of teen drivers texting and driving, which has been taking young lives for a long time now. Teen drivers need to be more responsible if we are ever going to bring these numbers down.   

7. In 2018 in the USA even  25% of distracted drivers involved in accidents caused by cell phone usage were in the 20–29 age group.

What’s more, this age demographic represents the most likely candidates for fatal crashes involving cell phones. Similarly, it is also the most likely demographic to be involved in car crash fatalities due to distracted driving, judging how 898 adults belonging to this age group die every year as a result of distracted driving in the US, as indicated by distracted driving stats.

Source: NHTSA

8. Another 96 adults in the 30–39 age group were also involved in fatal car crashes due to cell phone usage in 2016

This is the second most likely demographic to be involved in fatal car accidents caused by cell phone use or distracted driving. It is estimated that 586 people perish due to distracted driving every year, as per texting and driving statistics.

Source: NHTSA

9. As for adults in the 40–49 age group, 69 were involved in fatal car crashes due to cell phone usage in 2016

Hence, we can deduce that the rates of car crash fatalities caused by cell phone usage drop with an increase in driver age. It is estimated that 400 people in this age group perish due to distracted driving every year. In fact, adult texting and driving statistics indicate that the phenomenon is not limited to teens or young adults only, as it has often been portrayed in the media; all age groups are at risk.

Source: NHTSA

6. 48 adults in the 50–59 age bracket and 21 adults in the 60–69 age group were also involved in fatal car crashes due to mobile phone usage in 2016

Overall, 415 people in the first age group perished as a result of distracted driving, as well as 288 individuals belonging to the second group, as shown in our texting and driving statistics by age stats.

Source: NHTSA

10. Last but not least, 5 adults over 70 years of age were involved in fatal car crashes due to cell phone usage in 2016

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this is the age group that is least likely to be involved in fatal car crashes associated with cell phone usage or distracted driving. It is estimated that 282 people in this group perished due to distracted driving in 2016.

Source: NHTSA

Demographics — Teens Texting and Driving Statistics

11. 58 drivers in the 15–19 age group have perished due to smartphone usage while behind the wheel in 2016

Likewise, 3,323 drivers in this age group have died as a result of a car crash in 2016, which accounts for 6% of all US-based drivers involved in fatal crashes (the lowest number in the NHTSA research for 2016). Teenage texting and driving statistics do show that distracted driving has caused 303 deaths.

Source: NHTSA

Cell Phone Use While Driving Statistics

12. Nearly 40% of drivers admit to texting and driving

Driver texting includes reading texts or emails while driving or waiting at a traffic light. This high percentage includes drivers who admit to reading texts or emails while driving.

Reading is not that different from typing and they both result in distracted driving. Texting of any kind should be left for after driving or you can pull over if it is absolutely necessary to text.

13. In 2016, reports indicate that 9% of fatal crashes to occur in the US, were caused by a distraction

This statistic includes texting while driving, alongside smartphone browsing, and other similar behavior. It does indicate that 3,450 deaths could have been prevented in the US with better public awareness of the dangers of texting and driving statistics.

Source: NHTSA

14. 40% of surveyed teens reported that they were passengers in a car being driven by a person who was texting and driving

Chances are that the actual rates are much higher since not everyone likes to admit dangerous behavior. Despite this, awareness efforts are being taken by authorities throughout the US and the rest of the world, as shown by teens texting and driving statistics.

Source: TeenSafe

15. Fun fact: sending a text message generally takes 5–7 seconds while behind the wheel, which is more than enough time to travel across a football field

It usually takes around 3 seconds for an accident to occur once a driver has become distracted. During this timeframe, the car travels a few hundred meters; this distance is more than enough to cause cell phone-related deaths.

Source: TeenSafe

16. An AT&T study has concluded that 77% of surveyed US-based teenagers were warned by their parents against texting and driving despite the fact that their parents were observed to have similar behaviors

Hence, it is essential for adults to practice what they preach when giving safe driving suggestions, especially since bad habits are easily formed at a younger age, and are difficult to overcome later on, according to texting and driving facts.

Source: TeenSafe

17. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, 391,000 individuals were injured following a vehicle crash involving a distracted driver

These numbers are specifically for the US. It is difficult to determine a worldwide total since not every country out there keeps track of accident causes or is willing to share their empirical data. The CDC has reported a total of 416,000 injuries in 2020; 387,000 in 2011; 421,000 in 2012; 424,000 in 2013; and 431,000 in 2014. From a long-term perspective, distracted driving was less of an issue before the prevalence of smartphones, as pointed out by texting and driving graphs.

Source: CDC

18. A CDC study shows that young adults (students specifically) who text and drive are more likely to not wear a seatbelt, drink, and drive, or share a ride with a driver who is under the influence

From a psychological standpoint, these are high-risk and self-destructive behaviors with (potentially) significant consequences. Authorities have to invest more effort in reducing roadside accidents caused by factors other than driver error or technical difficulties, namely for car accidents caused by texting.

Source: CDC

19. In March 2019, only 16 US states had enacted bans against the usage of mobile devices while driving

Interestingly, texting and driving are prohibited in 47 states, including the District of Columbia. Therefore, playing a mobile game while driving, for instance, remains theoretically legal in more than a dozen states. Nevertheless, upon witnessing such behaviors, traffic police are very likely to sanction drivers for reckless driving, endangerment, and other such offenses according to statistics on texting and driving.

Source: CDC

20. Most federal employees are forbidden from texting and driving, according to several mandates from the early 2010s

In 2009, President Obama banned texting and driving for all federal employees using government equipment and going about on official business. The Federal Railroad Administration, alongside the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and other public agencies, followed suit in an effort to reduce texting and driving death statistics.

Source: CDC

21. Reports indicate that drivers are not the only ones in danger while texting — namely, texting pedestrians are reportedly 4 times less likely to obey traffic signals or to check whether it is safe to cross the street

This recklessness leads to more pedestrian injuries and fatalities, especially when dealing with circumstances where both drivers and pedestrians are distracted.

Source: Edgar Snyder

22. A recent report indicates that (right now) there are roughly 660,000 drivers using their smartphones whilst driving in the US

Meaning, US roads have over half a million distracted drivers at any point during the day, drastically increasing the chances of road accidents and death by cell phones.

Source: Edgar Snyder

Statistics on Drunk Drivers

23. Texting and driving is reportedly 6 times more likely to lead to a car accident as opposed to driving under the influence

This statistic does depend on how much the driver has been drinking; yet drunk drivers generally try to pay attention to the road unless they are physically unable to do so. On the other hand, texting drivers willingly take their eyes off the road for prolonged periods of time, thus endangering themselves and other traffic participants, as reported by stats on texting and driving.

Source: The Zebra

24. A research effort has concluded that men are 4 times more likely to drive under the influence, whereas women are more avid texting drivers

Of course, there are also numerous cases where women carry out DUIs, and where men decide to text and drive.

Source: The Zebra

25. Texting and driving shares similar reaction times to being over the 0.08% blood alcohol concentration limit — hence why so many texting while driving deaths occur over the years

The difference in reaction times between DUI and distracted drivers is negligible, further highlighting the dangers of both practices.

Source: The Zebra

Dangers of Texting While Driving

26. Texting and driving is a worldwide phenomenon — in South Africa, the practice leads to roughly 25% of road accidents

This is so despite the fact that the practice is lawfully designated as illegal. In fact, approximately 50% of surveyed South Africans have admitted to using their cell phones behind the wheel, according to recent stats on texting and driving.

Source: Business Tech

27. One of the most common reasons as to why drivers text and drive is due to checking work-related messages (9% of the time).

Additionally, drivers use their smartphones to check personal or social messages (8%), to report a roadside accident or emergency (6%), to handle a quick call (4%), etc.

Source: The Simple Dollar

28. On the other hand, drivers are far less likely to use their mobile phones while driving if there is bad weather (around 39% of the time).

Other deterrents include close proximity traffic (19%), fast-moving traffic (18%), when drivers spot police officers (7%), etc., as per cell phones and driving statistics provided by NHTSA.

Source: NHTSA

29. According to the AAA Foundation, texting while driving is bound to double a driver’s chances of being involved in a road accident

The same goes for several other distracting behaviors, such as eating, drinking, looking for a specific object in the car, or trying to set up the entertainment or navigation system fitted on the vehicle, as reported by stats on texting and driving.

Source: AAA Traffic Safety Foundation

30. Similarly, texting and driving makes it six times more likely to rear-end another vehicle

The argument behind this claim is fairly simple. When you are texting and driving, you do not look ahead, thus you are less aware of sudden traffic stops, slowdowns, or similar events. This fact is also true for all teenage distracted driving statistics.

Source: AAA Traffic Safety Foundation

The Impact of Texting While Driving on Insurance Premiums

31. The average percentage rate increase after a texting ticket is 23% but could be as low as 12% and as high as 45%, based on a survey of six insurance carriers in 10 ZIP codes in every state, commissioned by Insurance.com

If you are wondering "does a texting ticket raise insurance costs?", let us assure you that it certainly does. The wide and detailed survey, commissioned by Insurance.com, showed that the national average increase in insurance costs after a texting ticket was 23% (around $350).

New York had the lowest percentage rate increase at 12% (around $150), whereas California had the highest at 45% ( around $800). California takes a major jump in a percentage rate increase from the second-highest states like Ohio, Indiana, and Rhode Island, all at 34%.

32. Current estimates determine that a texting and driving violation can lead to a $290 annual increase in insurance premiums

This just goes to show that insurance agencies are bound to sanction irresponsible traffic behavior, given the vastly increased chances of material damage, serious injury, or even death.

Source: The Zebra

33. Over the past few years, distracted driving insurance penalties have increased by almost 8,000% in the US

This trend spans outside the US as well. Hence, if you want to lower your monthly insurance premium, it is best to avoid using cell phones and driving at the same time.

Source: The Zebra

Final Thoughts

We can all agree on the fact that texting and driving, as well as distracted driving, in general, represent extremely dangerous roadside behaviors that can lead to serious injury and even death. At the moment, it is essential for authorities and NGOs to carry out educational campaigns meant to increase public awareness of this phenomenon. Smartphone usage is actively growing; therefore lack of action will probably increase the likelihood of roadside accidents occurring.

Hopefully, these texting and driving statistics will help spread awareness and discourage drivers from undertaking such foolish behavior in the near future.


  • 4,637 deaths were caused by distracted driving in the US in 2018.
  • A texting and driving violation can lead to a $290 annual increase in insurance premiums.
  • Over 9% of fatal crashes to occur in the US were caused by distracted driving in 2016.
  • Texting and driving are reportedly 6 times more likely to lead to a car accident as opposed to driving under the influence.
  • Right now, there are roughly 660,000 drivers using their smartphones whilst driving in the US.
  • Sources


    1. How many deaths a year are caused by texting and driving?

    Research on the matter suggests that between 3,500–5,000 deaths happen every year due to texting and driving in the US. The numbers have unfortunately increased over the past few years. The same could be said for most of the world’s countries.  

    2. How many accidents are caused by texting and driving?

    Approximately 1.6 million text and drive accidents occur every year in the US. In fact, 1 in 4 accidents is due to distracted driving (involving the use of a mobile device).  

    3. How likely are you to crash while texting?

    Texting and driving entails the inability to be attentive while behind the wheel, which is essential for roadside safety. As such, a person who texts and drives is 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident resulting in either material damage, injury, or death.  

    4. Is texting and driving more dangerous than drinking?

    The answer to this question depends on how much a person has been drinking. Generally, texting and driving facts suggest that the practice is six times more dangerous as compared to driving under the influence of alcohol.  

    5. How can we stop texting while driving?

    In general, the prevalence of this behavior can be reduced through aggressive educational campaigns, alongside drastic sanctions. On a personal level, the behavior can be curbed by placing one’s phone out of reach, blocking incoming messages, and mounting the phone on the dashboard for navigation purposes only. Such actions may help reduce the death toll and general figures of texting and driving statistics in the near future.  

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