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Statistics on Texting & Cell Phone Use While Driving

Texting While Driving

At any given time during daylight hours, 660,000 drivers in the United States use cell phones. Whether it’s texting, taking a phone call, or sending emails, cell phone use is associated with higher rates of dangerous or fatal car crashes. Accidents involving drivers using their cell phones are avoidable but many people put everyone’s safety at risk by ignoring laws against distracted driving.

If you were injured an accident because another driver was using their cell phone, call us at 1-866-9-4EDGAR (1-866-943-3427) for a free legal evaluation. Our phones answer 24/7 and we’ll start building your case immediately.

The information on this page reflects the most current national statistics on cell phone use and driving. Please note that 2013 statistics have not yet been released. This page will be updated as they become available.

General Cell Phone and Driving Statistics

  • Texting while driving makes a driver 23x more likely to crash.
  • Drivers talking on a cell phone are 4x more likely to have a car accident.
  • Talking on a cell phone while driving can make a young driver's reaction time as slow as that of a 70 year old.
  • Answering a text takes away your attention for about five seconds. That is enough time to travel the length of a football field.
  • Studies have found that texting while driving causes a 400% increase in time spent with eyes off the road.
  • 94% of drivers support bans on texting while driving.
  • 74% of drivers support bans on hand-held cell phone use.

Teen Driver Cell Phone Statistics

  • 15- to 19-year-olds make up the largest proportion of distracted drivers.
  • According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, texting while driving kills 11 teens each day.
  • In a AAA poll, 94% of teens called texting and driving a serious threat, but 35% admitted to doing it anyway.
  • 11% of drivers ages 15 – 19 involved in fatal crashes were reported to be distracted.
  • 21% of distracted teen drivers involved in fatal accidents were distracted by cell phones.
  • Teen drivers are 4x more likely than adults to get into car crashes or near-crashes when talking or texting on a cell phone.
  • A teen driver riding with one other passenger doubles the risk of being involved in a fatal car crash. With two or more passengers, a fatal accident is 5x as likely.
  • 46% of drivers under 18 admit to texting while driving.
  • Over 60% of American teens admit to risky driving, and nearly half of those admit to texting behind the wheel.

2012 Cell Phone and Driving Statistics

  • In 2012, 3,328 people were killed in distraction-related crashes.
  • About 421,000 people were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver.
  • In 2012, 11% of drivers under age 20 involved in fatal accidents were reported to be distracted at the time of the crash.
  • One-fourth of teenagers respond to at least one text message every time they drive and 20% of teens and 10% of parents report having multi-message text conversations while driving.

2012 National Survey on Distracted Driving Attitudes and Behaviors

  • Nearly half (48%) of drivers admit to answering their cell phone while driving.
  • Of those who answer their phones while driving, 58% of drivers continue to drive while talking on the phone.
  • In the survey, 24% of drivers reported that they are willing to make a phone call while driving.
  • One in 10 drivers surveyed said that, at least sometimes, they send text messages or emails while driving.
  • Of the drivers surveyed, 14% said they read text messages or emails while driving.
  • A majority of respondents support laws that ban talking on cell phones, texting, or emailing while driving.

2012 Texting Pedestrian Study

Researchers from the University of Washington monitored 20 of Seattle's busiest intersections and observed the following:

  • Pedestrians who text are four times less likely to look before crossing the street, cross in crosswalks, or obey traffic signals.
  • They also found that texting pedestrians take an average of two seconds longer to cross the street.

2011 Cell Phone and Driving Statistics

at least 23% car accidents involve cell phone use
  • It's estimated that at least 23% of all car accidents each year involve cell phone use – that's 1.3 million crashes.
  • 3,331 people were killed and 387,000 were injured in accidents involving a distracted driver.
  • 10% of fatal car accidents were reported to involve driver distraction.
  • 17% of car accidents involving an injury were reported to involve driver distraction.
  • Nearly 70% of drivers 18 – 64 reported talking on a cell phone while driving.
  • About 30% of drivers 18 – 64 reported texting while driving.

2010 Cell Phone and Driving Statistics

  • 3,267 people were killed and 416,000 were injured in distracted driving accidents.
  • 5% of drivers used a hand-held device.
  • More female drivers used hand-held devices than male drivers.
  • Drivers ages 16 - 24 were most likely to use a hand-held cell phone.
  • More than 3/4 of drivers said they would likely answer calls while driving and rarely consider traffic situations when deciding to use a cell phone.
  • Most drivers said they would answer a call or text while driving but would feel unsafe as a passenger if the driver was texting.

2009 Cell Phone and Driving Statistics

  • 5,474 people were killed and 448,000 were injured in distracted driving accidents.
  • Of the 5,474 killed, 995 involved reports of cell phone use.
  • Of the 448,000 injured, 24,000 involved reports of cell phone use.
  • Drivers ages 15 - 19 had the highest percentage of distracted drivers – 16% of those involved in accidents were distracted.
  • Drivers ages 30 - 39 had the highest percentage of cell phone use in fatal crashes.
  • The percentage of fatalities linked to distracted drivers increased from 10% in 2005 to 16% in 2009.
  • People driving light trucks and motorcycles were most often distracted at the time of fatal accidents.
  • In 2009, the South had the highest percentage of cell phone use while driving at 6%. The Northeast came in at 4%.

Pennsylvania Cell Phone and Driving Statistics

Note: As of March 2012, texting and driving is illegal for all Pennsylvania drivers. Make sure you know Pennsylvania's texting law.

  • In 2008, there were 23,059 crashes involving drivers ages 16 - 19, resulting in 194 deaths. Driver distraction contributed to about 10% of the accidents.
  • There were 1,298 cell phone-related accidents in 2008. Of those accidents, 9 resulted in death.
  • From 2003 to 2006, car accidents linked to cell phone use lead to 50 deaths across the state.
  • Cell phone-related car accidents increased 43% in Western Pennsylvania from 2003 to 2006.
  • There were 5,715 car accidents linked to the use of hand-held devices from 2002 to 2006.
  • There were 367 accidents involving hands-free devices from 2002 to 2006.
  • In 2004 alone, hand-held cell phone use contributed to over 1,170 car accidents in Pennsylvania.
  • Accidents involving talking or texting on a cell phone rose from 168 in 2003 to 228 in 2005 in western Pennsylvania. That's a 36% increase.

Injured in a Distracted Driving Accident? Call for a Free Legal Evaluation

If you suffered an injury from an accident involving a distracted driver, we know you’re feeling frustrated. There are laws against cell phone use while driving and you shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s mistake.

We want to help you get the compensation you deserve. Submit your information at the top right of this webpage or call us at 1-866-9-4EDGAR (1-866-943-3427). Our case evaluations are free and you won’t be obligated to use our services.

Looking for more statistics? View our accident statistics page.

Some statistics taken from:
"Driver Electronic Device Use in 2010." Traffic Safety Facts: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. December 2011.
"State lawmakers try to curb driver distractions." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. October 2007.
"Teen texting is OTT, even at wheel." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. July 2007.
"Driving, Texting Just Don't Mix Well." The Pittsburgh Channel. May 2007.
"Bill would require motorists to unhand their phones." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. June 2006.
"PennDOT Teen Driver Safety Week News Release." Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. October 22, 2008.
"Cellphones and Driving." Insurance Information Institute. October 2008.
"AMA acts against trans fats, texting while driving." Washington Post. November 10, 2008.
"Teen Texting is OTT, Even at Wheel." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. July 17, 2007.
"Distractions Challenge Teen Drivers." USA Today. January 26, 2007.
"Distracted Driving 2009." National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. September 2010.
"Driver Electronic Use in 2009." National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. September 2010.
"Distracted Driving and Driver, Roadway, and Environmental Factors." National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. September 2010.
"Most U.S. Drivers Engage in 'Distracted' Driving Behaviors." USAToday.com. December 1, 2011.
"2012 Distracted Driving Attitudes and Behaviors Survey." NHTSA.
"2011 National Occupant Protection Use Survey on Driver Electronics Use." NHTSA.
"2011 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Distracted Driving 2011." National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
"Distracted Driving – What Research Shows and What States Can Do." Governors Highway Safety Association. 2011.
National Safety Council.
"New Pennsylvania law not yet putting a dent in texting while driving." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. April 11, 2013.
“What is Distracted Driving? Key Facts and Statistics” NHTSA National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Schroeder, P., Meyers, M., & Kostuniuk, L. (2013, April). National survey on distracted driving attitudes and behaviors – 2012. (Report No. DOT HS 811 729). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
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