Texting and Driving 2022 Facts & Statistics – Bankrate.com

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Although 48 states have texting and driving laws in place, many American drivers still take part in this dangerous practice daily. When driving during the day, there are an estimated 354,415 drivers holding a phone to their ear, and even more using them while driving, according to the NHTSA. While these figures have decreased from 2019 to 2.6% and 2.8%, respectively, in 2020, the CDC estimates that around 3,000 people die each year from texting and driving and other distracted driving practices. Use these texting and driving statistics as a reminder and to encourage others to avoid driving distracted.

How many people die from texting and driving per year? About 400 fatal crashes happen each year as a direct result of texting and driving. That number increases to over 30,000 when you consider distracted driving as a whole, according to the NHTSA. While texting and driving accidents are decreasing in recent years, overall fatal crashes due to distracted driving are on the rise.
In the most recent available data, you can see that texting and driving deaths were on the rise in 2013, peaked in 2015 and 2016 and dropped in 2017. There was a sharp drop in 2018 and then a small spike in 2019.
Source: NHTSA

The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) says that it takes about five seconds to read a text. During that time, you drive about the length of a football field at around 55mph, which is 360 feet — quite a long way to have your eyes off the road.
The issue is not just the momentary lapse in attention, but also the additional time it takes for your eyes to reorient to the road and the other cars around you. Once a driver uses their phone, it can take up to 27 seconds for the mental distraction to wear off, according to the AAA Foundation. This is known as the “hangover effect.”
Teens and young drivers are especially susceptible to the dangers of texting and driving when they have fewer years of experience under their belt. This inexperience, coupled with a lack of advanced driving skills, can equate to more accidents, and sadly, more fatalities amongst this age group.
Other drivers are not the only ones that you risk hurting on the road. The NHTSA reports that, in 2019, 723 passengers, 462 pedestrians and 77 bicyclists were all killed by distracted driving. The age group with the highest rate of drivers causing a fatal crash was under 20 at 9%, followed by 7% in the 25 to 34 age group and 6% in both the 21 to 24 and 75 and older age groups.

Texting capabilities were not introduced until the early 1990s, but it has gradually become a dangerous and even fatal distraction for some. Take a trip down memory lane from the early days of texting to the current trends we see today in nearly every cell phone user.
Texting was not very common when it was first introduced in 1993. While capabilities were limited and nothing like what we see today, it was the beginning of a dangerous trend.
In 1997, the first phone equipped with a keyboard was introduced, making texting easier and more “convenient.”
Texting was finally available across all networks in 1999. At the time, phone plans typically came with limited talk time. College kids began taking advantage of the quick and inexpensive option of texting.
There are several reasons why texting has really taken off. It’s a faster method of communication that offers the privacy of a phone call without the same time and attention demand. It’s also cheaper. Cell phone users quickly found that their providers were more generous with text message allotments than they were minutes. To stay within their plans, subscribers began relying on texting as a primary and more affordable means of communication.
Texting took off in the early 2000s, with over 250 billion text messages sent worldwide by 2002. In 2007, Americans sent more texts in a month than they made in monthly calls for the first time in history.
That same year, GPS navigation became mainstream, giving drivers another distraction on the road. To program an address, it takes approximately 40 seconds, and another 13 seconds to refocus on driving. This makes using a GPS as dangerous or even more so than texting and driving.
Texting and driving is still a problem, with 39% of high schoolers admitting to texting and driving behind the wheel. Over the years, cell phone use has changed with the sharp increase in social media platforms available.
For instance, TikTok challenges and users posting videos while they’re driving has increased cell phone usage. Of people aged 18-29, 96% have a smartphone and their usage of it has increased over time, leading to the highest dependency of all age groups.
As much as 72% of Americans use social media, with 84% of users in the 18-29 age group. Facebook, SnapChat and Instagram are the most commonly used platforms, with over half checking the platforms daily. Teens between 15-18 spend about 7.5 hours daily in front of screens, with close to three-in-ten adult Americans online “almost constantly.”
Modern technology is increasing the options for safer communication. Apps like DriveMode sense how fast a person is going, silencing text and phone alerts above 15 mph when a person is assumed to be in a car. Other apps allow drivers to compete against each other for the safest driving habits, or earn insurance discounts for reducing their risk on the road through telematics programs.
Most cell phones will now read your texts aloud to you with a simple prompt of “read my text messages,” and most keyboards now offer a voice-to-text tool that allows users to speak their texts instead of typing them. Keep in mind that voice-to-text technology can still distract you from the road.

All age groups are guilty of texting and driving, but data from the NHTSA shows that some groups are far more active than others.
Drivers between the ages of 25 and 34 far exceed the usage of older adults, with the 35-44 and 15-20 age groups also showing greater cell phone use while driving. The risk of texting and driving begins to decrease after 45, showing that drivers ages 45 years and up are more responsible on the road and less likely to end up in a car crash due to texting and driving.
2019 Fatal Crashes by Age Group
Source: NHTSA
The CDC offers some additional insight into how frequently teenagers use their phones behind the wheel. Its 2019 report studies how frequently teens use their phones to email or text behind the wheel. Data from 2013 to 2019 shows a slight decrease, though it is small enough that the CDC shows no change in trend.
Teen Behaviors
Source: CDC

Texting while driving is considered a moving traffic violation. Depending on where you live, texting while driving may also be considered a Class B or Class C criminal misdemeanor.
Currently, almost every state has some kind of law that addresses texting and driving or handheld use. Many states have looked to financial penalties as a reasonable consequence for texting and driving. Penalties range from $20 to $500, depending on the state, but in some states like Alaska and Iowa, fines can reach as high as $1,000 and mean a misdemeanor offense.
When bodily injury is involved, offenders of texting and driving may also face jail or prison time. Penalties vary, but commercial drivers and school bus drivers are commonly held to stricter penalties due to the public nature of their positions. Consequences heighten in severity when you have repeated offenses.

Laws vary by state, so it’s crucial to review the specific texting and driving laws that affect your area. This is a comprehensive, state-by-state listing of current U.S. texting and driving laws from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).

Source: GHSA

Car insurance premiums are all based on risk, calculated for each individual based on a specific set of rate factors that determine how much you pay for your coverage each year. This includes everything from where you live and the kind of car you drive to your credit score (in most states), driving history and claims record.
It’s typically a good idea to shop and compare car insurance quotes each year to find the best car insurance provider for you. Car insurance can get particularly pricey when you have a texting and driving offense on your driving record, so be sure to also consider the cheapest car insurance companies in your state to find a policy that’s affordable for you.
North Carolina is one example of how distracted driving, including texting and driving, impacts rates. The North Carolina Rate Bureau, who represents the insurance companies operating in the state, requested an average 7.6% rate increase in 2019. The North Carolina insurance commissioner approved an average increase of 1.6%, which began in October 2019. An ongoing increase in the rate of accidents due distracted driving contributed to the increase request.
Though North Carolina has since banned texting while driving, it has yet to pass a handheld ban. The Hands Free NC Act was first introduced in 2019 and then again in 2021, though it has been shelved until 2022. The Act would make it illegal to use the phone while “supported by the body,” which would include using your shoulder to talk on the phone, for example. Using social media, taking videos and other actions would also be banned.

Governments and organizations can do their best to deter the practice with harsh penalties and required driver education, but the truth is that it is a personal habit that you have to commit to breaking yourself. The easiest and simplest way to prevent texting and driving is don’t text and drive.
It’s easier said than done, but these are some tips to help you stop texting and driving when you are behind the wheel.

Some apps are designed specifically to help drivers on the road and potentially reduce texting and driving habits.
With virtually the entire country having banned texting while driving, the simple solution is: don’t text and drive. Unfortunately, the simplest solution is sometimes the hardest. By using apps and practicing safe driving habits, you can break the cycle of distracted driving. Avoid having your phone within arm’s reach if you cannot resist temptation. If you use your phone for GPS, set it before driving and put on Do Not Disturb to silence notifications until you safely reach your destination. These texting and driving facts and statistics can serve as a reminder for why avoiding distracted driving is not only safe for you, but others on the road.
2023 Senior driver facts and statistics
Teen driving facts and statistics 2023
Distracted driving statistics 2022
Auto insurance statistics and facts
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