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cell phone use while driving statistics

Cell Phone Use While Driving Statistics and Texting and Driving Facts

Cell phone use while driving statistics and texting and driving facts show that this behavior is common and dangerous for teen drivers. Distracted driving is dangerous, contributing to 3,142 deaths on the roads in 2019, nearly a 10% increase from 2018. Cell phone use while driving, including texting and driving, is a major factor. Knowing cell phone use while driving statistics and texting and driving facts may help families manage this dangerous crash risk.

Texting and driving and other cell phone use while driving facts and statistics show that this multitasking behind the wheel is becoming a life-threatening norm. Talking while driving or texting and driving or checking or sending social media posts while driving takes eyes and brains off the task of driving. Coupled with inexperience and lack of driving skills, cell phone use can be especially deadly for teen drivers.

Because technology will change and new distractions will be introduced, parents need to make sure teens understand the value of engaged driving, where the driver is continuously attentive and focused. Make a family commitment not to use distracting devices while driving, including texting and driving and checking social media while driving.

Watch this video with your teen to avoid distractions both inside and outside the car, including texting and driving:

According to research conducted at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), teens who do not frequently use a phone while driving believe the benefits of putting away their phone while driving outweigh any drawbacks. For these teens, the benefits associated with not using a cell phone while driving include:

  • Being able to pay better attention
  • Being less likely to have a crash
  • Following the law

Parents need to provide teens with safe alternatives to cell phone use while driving, including texting and driving:

  • Complete any call or text before starting the car
  • Get directions and try to visualize the destination before turning the key
  • Check in with friends or parents only after arrival

Parents should also avoid calling their teen when he or she is driving. Instead ask to be called before leaving one place and when arriving at the next destination. A teen may feel compelled to answer a parent's call or text if received while driving.

It's also a good idea to set the default "do not disturb" setting on a teen's phone. With recent upgrades in IOS, Apple created an option to avoid distraction while driving. When the phone detects driving, it sends automated messages and does not alert the driver. Visit Apple Support to learn how to set this up. 


In 2019, 39% of high school students reported texting or emailing while driving during the past month.

More Cell Phone Use While Driving Statistics & Texting and Driving Facts

  • Young adults (ages 18-24) who self-report cell phone use while driving also engage in other risky driving behaviors, such as speeding, running red lights, and impatiently passing a car in front on the right.

  • Cell phone use behind the wheel reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%.

  • High school students who reported frequent texting while driving were less likely to wear a seat belt, more likely to ride with a driver who had been drinking alcohol, and more likely to drink and drive.

  • Typing text messages reduces a driver’s ability to adequately direct attention to the roadway, to respond to important traffic events, and to control a vehicle within a lane and with respect to other vehicles.

  • Cell phones are not just about texting—multiple behaviors, such as social media, messaging apps, GPS, and music—have the potential to draw attention away from the road.

Pick Your Practice

With a couple of clicks, think about what skills you would like to practice first as a learner driver, and we’ll point you to videos and tips on how to practice them. Take this online driving quiz to Pick Your Practice!

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