The 25 Scariest Texting and Driving Accident Statistics

 

Each year, about 1,300,000 people are killed in road accidents. This is a mind-numbing number of deaths for the worst reason in the world. This means that over 3,000 people die every single day due to collisions on the road. With numbers like that, you start to wonder how the world is still on the way to overpopulation.

Road accidents can happen anywhere in the world, and at any time. It is one of the most random, split second things that can ever occur. Everything can go wrong because of one tiny twitch of a hand at the wrong moment. People travel at such high speeds in the world now that nearly every accident is either fatal or leaves someone critically injured, or disabled.

Texting while driving

Mobile phones and the road

This has been made even worse because we are now living in an age of technology. Everything we see around us is full of tech. The internet dominates all human life. In the U.S., this is so much more apparent than in other countries. People use the internet all the time, and most of their lives are connected to it so deeply that they would be nowhere without it.

In addition to the internet, there is the fact that we have mobile technology for everyone now. Back in the day, having a wired phone was a massive deal. Now, even homeless people have cell phones. One of the cardinal rules of driving a vehicle anywhere in the world is to keep both hands on the wheel.

However, people are now so used to mobile phones that they think that they can drive while using them. It doesn’t matter how mad you think your driving skills are, you still can’t text while driving. Unless you are capable of seeing and concentrating on two separate things with equal intensity, of course. This isn’t humanly possible, so you can put that thought away.

From texting to calling to using mobile navigation systems, people are always finding ways to use their mobile phones. It almost feels like they just can’t keep their paws off those screens, not even for the time it takes to drive from point A to point B every day.

Texting while driving is an epidemic, and it must be cured before it is too late to do anything about it. In fact, the use of mobile phones in vehicles has to be banned too. There are already a lot of states in the US that have laws against the use of cell phones and texting in the vehicle.

Scary statistics

25 statistics that will blow your mind

  • Over 2.5 million people in the U.S. are involved in road accidents each year. The population of the US is just 318.9 million. At this rate, the American people could be extinct in two human lifespans. This is an astounding number of traffic accidents.
  • Of these, 1.6 million have a cell phone involved in them. That’s 64% of all the road accidents in the United States. Over half the road accidents in the States have cell phones involved, and if this doesn’t make you realize just how potent it is, what will?
  • 37,000+ people die in automobile crashes in the U.S every year
  • Every year, about 421,000 people are injured in crashes that have involved a driver who was distracted in some way.
  • Each year, over 330,000 accidents caused by texting while driving lead to severe injuries. This means that over 78% of all distracted drivers are distracted because they have been texting while driving.
  • 1 out of 4 car accidents in the US are caused by texting while driving.
  • Texting and driving is 6 times more likely to get you in an accident than drunk driving. That’s right, it is actually safer for someone to get wasted and get behind the wheel than to text and do it.
  • It takes an average of three seconds after a driver’s mind is taken off the road for any road accident to occur. This is the bare minimum amount of time it takes, and it is surprisingly small. Three seconds is the time it takes to turn your ignition when starting your car.
  • Reading a text message while driving successfully distracts a driver for a minimum of five seconds each time. This means that the chances of an accident occurring while reading a text is extremely high indeed.
  • The average speed in the US is about 55mph. Taking five seconds to read a text in this time means that the driver travels the length of a football field without looking at the road, or being distracted. There are so many vehicles on the road now that this means there is a huge chance of something terrible happening in this distance.
  • When you text while driving, the time that you spend with your eyes off the road increases by about 400%. It is already dangerous enough to be distracted by NATURE while driving. So why make things 4 times as bad by texting?
  • The chances of a crash because of any reason is increased by 23 times when you are texting. Even if the crash is another driver’s fault, you will probably have been able to avoid it if you had been looking at the road instead of the phone.
  • When you compare this to the 2.8 times more risk that dialing a number on a phone imparts, you know that you are playing with fire.
  • Every day, 11 teenagers die because they were texting while driving.
  • 94% of teenagers understand the consequences of texting and driving, but 35% of them admitted that they do it anyway.
  • Of all the teenagers ever involved in fatal accidents every year, 21% were using a cell phone at the time of the accident.
  • Teen drivers have a 400% higher chance of being in a car crash when texting while driving than adults.
  • 25% of teens respond to at least one text while driving, every single time.
  • 10% of adults and 20% of teenagers have admitted that they have entire conversations over text message platforms while driving.
  • 82% of American teenagers own a cell phone, and use it regularly to call and text message.
  • 52% of these talk on the phone while driving, and 32% text on the road.
  • When polled, 77% of adults and 55% of teenage drivers say that they can easily manage texting while driving.
  • When teens text while they drive, they veer off lane 10% of their total drive time.
  • A study at the University of Utah found out that the reaction time for a teen using a cell phone is the same as that of a 70 year old who isn’t using one.
  • 48% of kids in their younger teenage years have been in a car while the driver was texting. Over 1600 children in the same age group are killed each year because of crashes involving texters.

Teenagers on the phone while driving

Why do so many teenagers text while driving?

Teenagers have a very sad excuse when they are asked why they do it when they know the risks. The standard excuse is that they have seen adults do it too. Good parenting involves leading by example. If you are a parent and you take your kid on a drive, and you text, you are making it seem to them as if texting and driving is something “cool” to do.

Cyclist hit by a car

No amount of justification makes it okay

People tend to give all kinds of excuses when they are asked why they text while they drive. For most, it is that some texts are too important to be ignored. However, as one grieving mother puts it, no text message is more important than your own life.

You don’t want to be remembered by an unfinished sentence. Nothing is as important as you are. You should always remember this, because if you take your eyes and your mind off the road for more than three seconds, you are likely to wind up dead.

Another common excuse is that it is easy for them. According to a lot of people they “hold the phone up to windshield level so that it is easy to look at the road”. This is, to all intents and purposes, a steaming pile of fresh bovine excrement. No matter where you hold your phone, you can only give your full focus to one task at a time. You are a human, not a Hindu god.

One of the most “normal” ways to text while driving is to do it at a stop light. Confession: I’ve done this too. However, right after a text, what if there is a vehicle behind you tooting its horn? You are going to immediately shift gears and blow through the intersection. Your mind will still be distracted, so you won’t even see the 18 wheeler to your left until it is just too late.

Sunset over a countryside road

What is being done about it?

Governments in the US have not been idle. In response to the rising statistics involving texting and driving, and the use of mobile phones in general while driving, a number of states have some sort of law in place to prevent this from happening too often.

For D.C. and 10 other states, there are bans in place that effectively prevent uses from using any handheld mobile device while driving. This means no holding your phone for any purpose whatsoever, even if it is to check the time. Most vehicle radios have a clock on them for this purpose anyway!

This also means that you aren’t allowed to answer calls or look at what that notification that just arrived was about. In fact, you just need to pull over and answer if it is so important! This will take you all of one minute, but it seems like a lot of people can’t spare 60 seconds to save their life.

32 states, plus D.C, have a law against new drivers and young adults from using their cell phones on the roads. This is because the highest incidence of cell phone related accidents tends to come from teenagers. While being on the phone at any age is a life or death issue, the experience that older drivers have does reduce the risk factor by an infinitesimal percentage.

Out of the 52 states, 40 including D.C. expressly forbid all drivers from texting on their phones. While using maps and navigation is permissible, there is absolutely no text messaging or reading of texts while driving.

Children fighting on a phone

What can I do to stop myself and my kids from texting?

If you are a parent, there are a couple of things that you can do to stop yourself, and your teenagers from texting behind the wheel. For your kids, there is something known as a drivecam, which records live video of what is going on in the driver’s seat, and sends you updates.

For everybody, there are apps on Android and iOS that block all text messages and all messaging platforms for the duration of the drive. For example, AT&T has a drive mode app which stops all incoming and outgoing text messages while you are behind the wheel.

27 replies on “The 25 Scariest Texting and Driving Accident Statistics

  • Frank Baker

    Thank you for all the research provided. My students ( Driver Education ) will write a response or reaction to many of the articles.

    Reply
  • Annette McAllister

    I thoroughly enjoyed the article and thought about using this until I reached 52 states. Fifty-TWO? Are you able to correct that to 50? The people I want to read this article will find the wrong number of states a reason to discount the research. Unless you’re counting some of the territories and not all of them because 52 would still be incorrect.

    Reply
    • mplo

      it’s not surprising, at all. There’s one thing that the poster of this article said that I strenuously and wholeheartedly disagree with, however; Getting wasted on illicit drugs and/or alcohol and then getting behind the wheel of a car or any other motorized vehicle is NOT any safer than texting while driving. Drunk or drugged-out drivers put themselves and others on the road at risk, as well, and plenty of people do get seriously injured and/or killed by drunk or impaired drivers.

      Texting/talking on one’s cellphone while driving is wrong and risky to everybody on the road including the driver him/herself. I would not want to be the passenger of either an impaired or a texting/talking on cellphone driver.

      Reply
  • Brittanie

    I really enjoyed this. I was surprised when I found out that 10% of adult admitted to texting a whole conversation while driving and 20% of teens did as well. I go a lot of facts from this and will hopefully do good on my research paper.

    Reply
    • mplo

      There was a similar accident when the driver of an MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority) train was texting while driving the train. It resulted in a crash and a whole bunch of people were injured and sent to hospitals.

      Reply
  • Anonymous

    Mr. Ameen, I am currently involved in a research project which includes the topic of distracted driving. I found the statistics you provided here to be fascinating and I inquire, if it is at all possible, for you to provide the sources for said figures.

    Reply
  • Buster

    Twice I have been responsible for the issuing of 2 $120 tickets to drivers who got caught texting while driving. One doing 25 mph in a 45mph zone. The other sitting at a green light for 5 sceonds After the car head of her had pulled away. That lady said she was an ER nurse and knew it was wrong but had yo speak to her daughter at school. Picked both out of photo line ups and the tickets were issued. Darwin needs to pur it ih high gear and do his majic. Leave the innocents alone though.

    Reply
  • bob

    The 25 Scariest Texting and Driving Accident Statistics
    by Luke Ameen in MISCELLANEOUS

    Each year, about 1,300,000 people are killed in road accidents. This is a mind-numbing number of deaths for the worst reason in the world. This means that over 3,000 people die every single day due to collisions on the road. With numbers like that, you start to wonder how the world is still on the way to overpopulation.

    Road accidents can happen anywhere in the world, and at any time. It is one of the most random, split second things that can ever occur. Everything can go wrong because of one tiny twitch of a hand at the wrong moment. People travel at such high speeds in the world now that nearly every accident is either fatal or leaves someone critically injured, or disabled.

    Texting while driving

    Mobile phones and the road

    This has been made even worse because we are now living in an age of technology. Everything we see around us is full of tech. The internet dominates all human life. In the U.S., this is so much more apparent than in other countries. People use the internet all the time, and most of their lives are connected to it so deeply that they would be nowhere without it.

    In addition to the internet, there is the fact that we have mobile technology for everyone now. Back in the day, having a wired phone was a massive deal. Now, even homeless people have cell phones. One of the cardinal rules of driving a vehicle anywhere in the world is to keep both hands on the wheel.

    However, people are now so used to mobile phones that they think that they can drive while using them. It doesn’t matter how mad you think your driving skills are, you still can’t text while driving. Unless you are capable of seeing and concentrating on two separate things with equal intensity, of course. This isn’t humanly possible, so you can put that thought away.

    From texting to calling to using mobile navigation systems, people are always finding ways to use their mobile phones. It almost feels like they just can’t keep their paws off those screens, not even for the time it takes to drive from point A to point B every day.

    Texting while driving is an epidemic, and it must be cured before it is too late to do anything about it. In fact, the use of mobile phones in vehicles has to be banned too. There are already a lot of states in the US that have laws against the use of cell phones and texting in the vehicle.

    Scary statistics

    25 statistics that will blow your mind

    Over 2.5 million people in the U.S. are involved in road accidents each year. The population of the US is just 318.9 million. At this rate, the American people could be extinct in two human lifespans. This is an astounding number of traffic accidents.
    Of these, 1.6 million have a cell phone involved in them. That’s 64% of all the road accidents in the United States. Over half the road accidents in the States have cell phones involved, and if this doesn’t make you realize just how potent it is, what will?
    37,000+ people die in automobile crashes in the U.S every year
    Every year, about 421,000 people are injured in crashes that have involved a driver who was distracted in some way.
    Each year, over 330,000 accidents caused by texting while driving lead to severe injuries. This means that over 78% of all distracted drivers are distracted because they have been texting while driving.
    1 out of 4 car accidents in the US are caused by texting while driving.
    Texting and driving is 6 times more likely to get you in an accident than drunk driving. That’s right, it is actually safer for someone to get wasted and get behind the wheel than to text and do it.
    It takes an average of three seconds after a driver’s mind is taken off the road for any road accident to occur. This is the bare minimum amount of time it takes, and it is surprisingly small. Three seconds is the time it takes to turn your ignition when starting your car.
    Reading a text message while driving successfully distracts a driver for a minimum of five seconds each time. This means that the chances of an accident occurring while reading a text is extremely high indeed.
    The average speed in the US is about 55mph. Taking five seconds to read a text in this time means that the driver travels the length of a football field without looking at the road, or being distracted. There are so many vehicles on the road now that this means there is a huge chance of something terrible happening in this distance.
    When you text while driving, the time that you spend with your eyes off the road increases by about 400%. It is already dangerous enough to be distracted by NATURE while driving. So why make things 4 times as bad by texting?
    The chances of a crash because of any reason is increased by 23 times when you are texting. Even if the crash is another driver’s fault, you will probably have been able to avoid it if you had been looking at the road instead of the phone.
    When you compare this to the 2.8 times more risk that dialing a number on a phone imparts, you know that you are playing with fire.
    Every day, 11 teenagers die because they were texting while driving.
    94% of teenagers understand the consequences of texting and driving, but 35% of them admitted that they do it anyway.
    Of all the teenagers ever involved in fatal accidents every year, 21% were using a cell phone at the time of the accident.
    Teen drivers have a 400% higher chance of being in a car crash when texting while driving than adults.
    25% of teens respond to at least one text while driving, every single time.
    10% of adults and 20% of teenagers have admitted that they have entire conversations over text message platforms while driving.
    82% of American teenagers own a cell phone, and use it regularly to call and text message.
    52% of these talk on the phone while driving, and 32% text on the road.
    When polled, 77% of adults and 55% of teenage drivers say that they can easily manage texting while driving.
    When teens text while they drive, they veer off lane 10% of their total drive time.
    A study at the University of Utah found out that the reaction time for a teen using a cell phone is the same as that of a 70 year old who isn’t using one.
    48% of kids in their younger teenage years have been in a car while the driver was texting. Over 1600 children in the same age group are killed each year because of crashes involving texters.
    Teenagers on the phone while driving

    Why do so many teenagers text while driving?

    Teenagers have a very sad excuse when they are asked why they do it when they know the risks. The standard excuse is that they have seen adults do it too. Good parenting involves leading by example. If you are a parent and you take your kid on a drive, and you text, you are making it seem to them as if texting and driving is something “cool” to do.

    Cyclist hit by a car

    No amount of justification makes it okay

    People tend to give all kinds of excuses when they are asked why they text while they drive. For most, it is that some texts are too important to be ignored. However, as one grieving mother puts it, no text message is more important than your own life.

    You don’t want to be remembered by an unfinished sentence. Nothing is as important as you are. You should always remember this, because if you take your eyes and your mind off the road for more than three seconds, you are likely to wind up dead.

    Another common excuse is that it is easy for them. According to a lot of people they “hold the phone up to windshield level so that it is easy to look at the road”. This is, to all intents and purposes, a steaming pile of fresh bovine excrement. No matter where you hold your phone, you can only give your full focus to one task at a time. You are a human, not a Hindu god.

    One of the most “normal” ways to text while driving is to do it at a stop light. Confession: I’ve done this too. However, right after a text, what if there is a vehicle behind you tooting its horn? You are going to immediately shift gears and blow through the intersection. Your mind will still be distracted, so you won’t even see the 18 wheeler to your left until it is just too late.

    Sunset over a countryside road

    What is being done about it?

    Governments in the US have not been idle. In response to the rising statistics involving texting and driving, and the use of mobile phones in general while driving, a number of states have some sort of law in place to prevent this from happening too often.

    For D.C. and 10 other states, there are bans in place that effectively prevent uses from using any handheld mobile device while driving. This means no holding your phone for any purpose whatsoever, even if it is to check the time. Most vehicle radios have a clock on them for this purpose anyway!

    This also means that you aren’t allowed to answer calls or look at what that notification that just arrived was about. In fact, you just need to pull over and answer if it is so important! This will take you all of one minute, but it seems like a lot of people can’t spare 60 seconds to save their life.

    32 states, plus D.C, have a law against new drivers and young adults from using their cell phones on the roads. This is because the highest incidence of cell phone related accidents tends to come from teenagers. While being on the phone at any age is a life or death issue, the experience that older drivers have does reduce the risk factor by an infinitesimal percentage.

    Out of the 52 states, 40 including D.C. expressly forbid all drivers from texting on their phones. While using maps and navigation is permissible, there is absolutely no text messaging or reading of texts while driving.

    Children fighting on a phone

    What can I do to stop myself and my kids from texting?

    If you are a parent, there are a couple of things that you can do to stop yourself, and your teenagers from texting behind the wheel. For your kids, there is something known as a drivecam, which records live video of what is going on in the driver’s seat, and sends you updates.

    For everybody, there are apps on Android and iOS that block all text messages and all messaging platforms for the duration of the drive. For example, AT&T has a drive mode app which stops all incoming and outgoing text messages while you are behind the wheel.

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    14 replies on “The 25 Scariest Texting and Driving Accident Statistics“

    Kersandra
    April 7, 2016 at 3:06 pm
    Hi Mr. Ameen,

    I would like to share this information. I need the references first.

    Please advise…

    Thanks!
    Kersandra

    REPLY
    Frank Baker
    April 26, 2016 at 9:11 pm
    Thank you for all the research provided. My students ( Driver Education ) will write a response or reaction to many of the articles.

    REPLY
    Alex
    May 5, 2016 at 6:14 am
    Where are these stats pulled from?

    REPLY
    William Knudson
    July 25, 2016 at 7:48 am
    So when did the 51st and 52nd States get added have I been in a coma

    REPLY
    Nicholas
    March 22, 2017 at 5:18 am
    They are American Territories such as Puerto Rico

    REPLY
    Annette McAllister
    December 22, 2016 at 1:57 pm
    I thoroughly enjoyed the article and thought about using this until I reached 52 states. Fifty-TWO? Are you able to correct that to 50? The people I want to read this article will find the wrong number of states a reason to discount the research. Unless you’re counting some of the territories and not all of them because 52 would still be incorrect.

    REPLY
    Emmanuel Thompson
    January 24, 2017 at 10:36 pm
    This is a very shocking epedimic. I myself am shocked that 1.3 million people die every year due to texting and driving

    REPLY
    John Montgomery
    February 23, 2017 at 3:55 am
    Where does it ever say 1.3 million people

    REPLY
    Donald Thiederman
    January 25, 2017 at 7:03 pm
    texting and driving— the freedom to kill others with your selfish stupidity

    REPLY
    Brittanie
    February 8, 2017 at 4:01 pm
    I really enjoyed this. I was surprised when I found out that 10% of adult admitted to texting a whole conversation while driving and 20% of teens did as well. I go a lot of facts from this and will hopefully do good on my research paper.

    REPLY
    Izzy
    February 20, 2017 at 11:36 am
    It Shows How Dangerous it is to Drive and Text. I have seen Tractor Trailers do the Same while driving.

    REPLY
    Anonymous
    February 23, 2017 at 6:12 am
    Mr. Ameen, I am currently involved in a research project which includes the topic of distracted driving. I found the statistics you provided here to be fascinating and I inquire, if it is at all possible, for you to provide the sources for said figures.

    REPLY
    Guadalupe E Lawson
    March 1, 2017 at 2:30 pm
    Hey Luke,

    You are right, People tend to give excuses when they are asked, that they text while they drive. For most, they are not important.

    REPLY
    Buster
    April 2, 2017 at 3:33 pm
    Twice I have been responsible for the issuing of 2 $120 tickets to drivers who got caught texting while driving. One doing 25 mph in a 45mph zone. The other sitting at a green light for 5 sceonds After the car head of her had pulled away. That lady said she was an ER nurse and knew it was wrong but had yo speak to her daughter at school. Picked both out of photo line ups and the tickets were issued. Darwin needs to pur it ih high gear and do his majic. Leave the innocents alone though.

    REPLY
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  • bob

    25 statistics that will blow your mind

    Over 2.5 million people in the U.S. are involved in road accidents each year. The population of the US is just 318.9 million. At this rate, the American people could be extinct in two human lifespans. This is an astounding number of traffic accidents.
    Of these, 1.6 million have a cell phone involved in them. That’s 64% of all the road accidents in the United States. Over half the road accidents in the States have cell phones involved, and if this doesn’t make you realize just how potent it is, what will?
    37,000+ people die in automobile crashes in the U.S every year
    Every year, about 421,000 people are injured in crashes that have involved a driver who was distracted in some way.
    Each year, over 330,000 accidents caused by texting while driving lead to severe injuries. This means that over 78% of all distracted drivers are distracted because they have been texting while driving.
    1 out of 4 car accidents in the US are caused by texting while driving.
    Texting and driving is 6 times more likely to get you in an accident than drunk driving. That’s right, it is actually safer for someone to get wasted and get behind the wheel than to text and do it.
    It takes an average of three seconds after a driver’s mind is taken off the road for any road accident to occur. This is the bare minimum amount of time it takes, and it is surprisingly small. Three seconds is the time it takes to turn your ignition when starting your car.
    Reading a text message while driving successfully distracts a driver for a minimum of five seconds each time. This means that the chances of an accident occurring while reading a text is extremely high indeed.
    The average speed in the US is about 55mph. Taking five seconds to read a text in this time means that the driver travels the length of a football field without looking at the road, or being distracted. There are so many vehicles on the road now that this means there is a huge chance of something terrible happening in this distance.
    When you text while driving, the time that you spend with your eyes off the road increases by about 400%. It is already dangerous enough to be distracted by NATURE while driving. So why make things 4 times as bad by texting?
    The chances of a crash because of any reason is increased by 23 times when you are texting. Even if the crash is another driver’s fault, you will probably have been able to avoid it if you had been looking at the road instead of the phone.
    When you compare this to the 2.8 times more risk that dialing a number on a phone imparts, you know that you are playing with fire.
    Every day, 11 teenagers die because they were texting while driving.
    94% of teenagers understand the consequences of texting and driving, but 35% of them admitted that they do it anyway.
    Of all the teenagers ever involved in fatal accidents every year, 21% were using a cell phone at the time of the accident.
    Teen drivers have a 400% higher chance of being in a car crash when texting while driving than adults.
    25% of teens respond to at least one text while driving, every single time.
    10% of adults and 20% of teenagers have admitted that they have entire conversations over text message platforms while driving.
    82% of American teenagers own a cell phone, and use it regularly to call and text message.
    52% of these talk on the phone while driving, and 32% text on the road.
    When polled, 77% of adults and 55% of teenage drivers say that they can easily manage texting while driving.
    When teens text while they drive, they veer off lane 10% of their total drive time.
    A study at the University of Utah found out that the reaction time for a teen using a cell phone is the same as that of a 70 year old who isn’t using one.
    48% of kids in their younger teenage years have been in a car while the driver was texting. Over 1600 children in the same age group are killed each year because of crashes involving texters.

    Reply
  • Agnes

    When did you publish this article? I can’t find a date… also, what years do you pull your data from?
    This is a GREAT article and you should be proud because it’s the only one of its kind thus far.
    I’d like to use your source on my own research for this topic but just need to cite dates and data collection years. Thank you!

    Reply
  • mplo

    I agree with your post, with the exception of one thing: Drunk driving is just as likely to get one into an accident where s/he ends up seriously compromising or taking other people’s lives, not to mention his/her own life.

    Reply

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