Texting and Driving Accident Statistics

distracted driver texting behind the wheel

Texting and driving accidents are a fairly new phenomenon, as texting has only begun over the last couple of decades, which have been really ramping up each subsequent year as we become more and more glued to our devices.

Texting while driving is perhaps the leading cause of distracted driving accidents today. In fact, the United States Department of Transportation reported that smartphones are involved in 1.6 million vehicle crashes each year, causing over half a million injuries and 6,000 deaths.

The current texting and driving statistics are shocking. Cell phone use while driving is highest among teens and young adults between the ages of 15 and 29 years old. Each and every day, there are more than 480,000 drivers who use their phones while behind the wheel.

Every person who chooses to text while driving is creating a huge potential for injuries and fatalities, not only to themselves but also to their passengers, other drivers, and anyone else who’s on the road.

The Dangers of Texting and Driving

As you can tell from the statistics, the number of texting and driving accidents is out of control. One of the main problems is that drivers, regardless of their age, tend to underestimate how quickly distracted driving accidents happen.

But think about this, a vehicle driving at 55 miles per hour will travel the length of a full football field in the length of time that it takes you to read a text message, which is about five seconds. Collisions happen in as little as three seconds. So, those few quick seconds that drivers think are safe to take their eyes off the road to send a text is actually plenty of time for a car accident injury to happen.

A few split seconds is all it takes to unleash devastating consequences on the driver, their passengers, occupants of other vehicles, and even pedestrians. Here are the ways that texting affects and distracts drivers:

  • Manually: Texting and driving accidents occur when the driver moves one or both of their hands away from the steering wheel. This leaves the driver in an improper driving position which makes them more susceptible to car accidents and injuries.
  • Visually: If a driver is looking at his or her phone screen, then they are not looking at the road—they can’t do both. A driver who is texting is not looking where their vehicle is going, even if it’s just for a few seconds. This is often the time that we see drivers drifting out of their travel lane. Even when the driver refocuses their gaze on the road, that action takes a few seconds and can be plenty of time for disaster to strike.
  • Cognitively: Some drivers think that they’re playing it safe by “glancing up” at the road while also paying attention to the text on their phone. However, without 100% focus on the road, there’s still a great risk for accidents.

What Happens When a Texting While Driving Accident Occurs?

In the case of a car accident injury, the texting driver is legally liable. This means that the driver who caused the accident due to their distracted driving will be responsible for all the damages they caused.

All drivers have a duty of care or obligation to take reasonable actions to avoid causing harm to others while on the road. When it comes to drivers behind the wheel, it’s their duty to look out for the safety and well-being of their passengers, if they have any, and the other drivers on the road.

When drivers engage in cell phone use while driving, they’re choosing to engage in a dangerous activity that breaches their duty of care. That violation of duty is called negligence, and when negligence results in a collision, the driver is automatically liable for the damages incurred. Here’s a breakdown of how it all works:

  • Texting and driving put the driver and others on the road in danger. Failure to keep everyone’s safety in mind while behind the wheel is a violation of the driver’s duty of care.
  • When the driver violated their duty of care by choosing to use their phone, they’re being negligent.
  • When distracted driving accidents occur due to the driver’s negligence, they are liable for all the damages.
  • Anyone involved in the accident, harmed in any way, is entitled to compensation for damages resulting from the collision.

Texting and Driving Laws

Most states in the United States have jumped on board and banned texting while driving. This, of course, doesn’t deter every driver from engaging in this dangerous activity, but they will be fined should they get caught.

Some states even impose additional texting and driving laws and restrictions on new or young and inexperienced drivers to help deter them from picking up their phones while driving.

California driving laws include the following regarding texting and driving:

  • All California drivers are not allowed to use their phones for calling, reading, or writing text messages, browsing, or using GPS functions while driving on public roads,
  • Drivers are allowed to use their cell phones for calling and texting only when they have a vehicle with a hands-free, voice-activated system for use.
  • All drivers under the age of 18 are banned from using their phones while driving in any capacity, even with a vehicle with a hands-free system.

According to California driving laws, you can legally use your cell phone while driving without hands-free capabilities only if you are on private property or in the event of an emergency to call 911 or other law enforcement.

Under California’s definition of a hands-free cellular system, the phone must be mounted on the windshield or dashboard in a way that does not hinder the driver’s view of the road. Also, the driver’s hand must be able to activate or deactivate the system with a single tap or swipe.

Were You Involved in a Car Accident Injury Resulting From a Driver Texting and Driving?

If you are the victim of a texting and driving accident, call a personal injury lawyer right away to be sure that your best interests are protected during this delicate and stressful time. The team at Frank Penney Injury Lawyers are experienced accident injury attorneys who can help you receive the compensation you deserve.


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