Distracted Driving Statistics - Crash Data for Texting & Cellphone Usage

Distracted Driving & Cellphone Usage Crash Statistics

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Distracted driving is a general term, but it usually means the driver isn't fully paying attention to the road. It can include things like talking on a cellphone, texting or checking a navigation system.

Key findings

  • 8% of fatal car crashes resulted from distracted driving in 2018.
  • 2015 was the worst year for distracted-driving fatalities, but the number of such incidents has steadily declined.
  • Among all age groups, millennials had the most distracted-driving deaths and crashes.

Distracted-driving behavior is dangerous for the driver — but also to other cars, pedestrians and cyclists on the road. For this reason, many states have proposed legislation that bans using a cellphone while driving. However, there are still far too many crashes attributed to this risky behavior.

How many fatalities per year are associated with distracted driving?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2,841 fatalities are attributed to distracted driving every year. Of this total, close to 14% are a result of using a cellphone while driving.

Crashes
Drivers
Fatalities
Total fatal crashes33,65451,49036,560
Distracted affected2,6282,6882,841
Cellphone in use349354385
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Distracted-driving fatalities by year

Historically, fatal car crashes that resulted from distracted driving reached a peak during 2015, when the NHTSA reported 3,242 such fatalities. However, the number of distracted driving fatalities has decreased by more than 23% to 2,628 fatalities.

Year
Crash severity
Crashes resulting from distracted driving
Cellphone in use
2014Fatal2,972387
Injury297,00022,000
Property damage667,00046,000
2015Fatal3,242453
Injury265,00021,000
Property damage617,00048,000
2016Fatal3,197453
Injury295,00023,000
Property damage606,00042,000
2017Fatal3,003418
Injury285,00021,000
Property damage624,00050,000
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Distracted driving fatalities by age

Crashes involving young drivers — ages 15 to 29 — account for 30% of total fatal crashes, according to NHTSA data. Drivers in their 20s were the most likely to be involved in a fatal distracted-driving accident — and many were using a cellphone at the time of the crash.

The number of distracted-driving incidents decreases as drivers get older. However, the 70-and-older group had five more fatalities due to distracted driving than drivers in their 60s.

Age
Fatal crashes
Distracted fatalities
Cellphone in use
Cellphone percentage
15–193,0702374012%
20–2911,62968012018%
30–399,2645068617%
40–497,8093894411%
50–597,8833423611%
60–695,635251218%
70+4,91925662%
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Distracted-driving laws by state

Below, we've outlined the distracted-driving laws across the U.S. Virginia is the only state to ban cellphone use for all drivers, however 37 states have banned cellphones for novice drivers and 23 have banned them for school bus drivers. Additionally, 48 states ban texting while driving. Missouri and Montana are the only states that don't ban this behavior.

State
Handheld ban?
Texting ban?
AlabamaNoYes
AlaskaNoYes
ArizonaYesYes
Arkansas18-20 year olds onlyYes
CaliforniaYesYes
ColoradoNoYes
ConnecticutYesYes
DelawareYesYes
Washington D.C.YesYes
FloridaNoYes
GeorgiaYesYes
HawaiiYesYes
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Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-washington-dc\"\u003EWashington D.C.\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","Yes","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Florida Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/cheap-car-insurance-florida-study\"\u003EFlorida\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","No","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Georgia Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-georgia\"\u003EGeorgia\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","Yes","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Hawaii Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-hawaii\"\u003EHawaii\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","Yes","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Idaho Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-idaho\"\u003EIdaho\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","No","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Illinois Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-illinois\"\u003EIllinois\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","Yes","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Indiana Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-indiana\"\u003EIndiana\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","No","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Iowa Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-iowa\"\u003EIowa\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","No","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Kansas Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-kansas\"\u003EKansas\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","No","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Kentucky Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-kentucky\"\u003EKentucky\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","No","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Louisiana Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-louisiana\"\u003ELouisiana\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","Leaner permits only","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Maine Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-maine\"\u003EMaine\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","Yes","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Maryland Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-maryland\"\u003EMaryland\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","Yes","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Massachusetts Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-massachusetts\"\u003EMassachusetts\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","Yes","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Michigan Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-michigan\"\u003EMichigan\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","No","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Minnesota Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-minnesota\"\u003EMinnesota\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","Yes","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Mississippi Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-mississippi\"\u003EMississippi\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","No","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Missouri Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-missouri\"\u003EMissouri\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","No","No"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Montana Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-montana\"\u003EMontana\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","No","No"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Nebraska Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-nebraska\"\u003ENebraska\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","No","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Nevada Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-nevada\"\u003ENevada\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","Yes","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"New Hampshire Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-new-hampshire\"\u003ENew Hampshire\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","Yes","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"New Jersey Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-new-jersey\"\u003ENew Jersey\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","Yes","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"New Mexico Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-new-mexico\"\u003ENew Mexico\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","No","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"New York Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-new-york\"\u003ENew York\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","Yes","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"North Carolina Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-north-carolina\"\u003ENorth Carolina\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","No","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"North Dakota Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-north-dakota\"\u003ENorth Dakota\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","No","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Ohio Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-ohio\"\u003EOhio\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","No","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Oklahoma Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-oklahoma\"\u003EOklahoma\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","Learner permit only","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Oregon Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-oregon\"\u003EOregon\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","Yes","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Pennsylvania Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-pennsylvania\"\u003EPennsylvania\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","No","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Rhode Island Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-rhode-island\"\u003ERhode Island\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","Yes","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"South Carolina Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-south-carolina\"\u003ESouth Carolina\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","No","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"South Dakota Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-south-dakota\"\u003ESouth Dakota\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","No","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Tennessee Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-tennessee\"\u003ETennessee\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","Yes","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Texas Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/car-insurance-rates-texas-study\"\u003ETexas\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","Yes","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Utah Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-utah\"\u003EUtah\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","No","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Vermont Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-vermont\"\u003EVermont\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","Yes","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Virginia Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-auto-insurance-rates-virginia\"\u003EVirginia\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","Yes","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Washington Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-washington\"\u003EWashington\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","Yes","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"West Virginia Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-west-virginia\"\u003EWest Virginia\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","Yes","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Wisconsin Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-wisconsin\"\u003EWisconsin\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","No","Yes"],["\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Wyoming Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/best-cheap-car-insurance-wyoming\"\u003EWyoming\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E","No","Yes"]],"footnote":"","hasMarginBottom":true,"isExpandable":true,"isSortable":false,"maxWidth":"1215","showSearch":false,"sortColumnIndex":0,"sortDirection":"asc"}

Methodology

Distracted-driving statistics were compiled from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) using the Fatality Analysis Reporting System.

Sterling Price

Sterling Price is a research analyst at ValuePenguin specializing in health and life insurance. He graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelors degree in Finance and Accounting and has previous experience as a licensed life insurance representative.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.