Texting While Driving Facts and Statistics

Texting While Driving StatisticsTexting and Driving Statistics

Estimates from the federal government report that in 2009, roughly 450,000 individuals were harmed in motor vehicle crashes resulting from distracted driving. Of those involved in crashes, 5,474 did not survive. The data estimates cell phone use attributed to close to 20% of these deaths and 5% of total injuries. It is likely, however, that these figures understimate the role of distraction in vehicular accidents, as much of the information is unavailable to police responding to the event. Police crash reports are an unreliable metric for determining cell phone use as individuals are unlikely to be forthcoming regarding their behavior.

It may be possible, on the other hand, to estimate the number of accidents linked to using a cell phone behind the wheel. An independent analysis implies that over 20% of all accidents can be attributed to this behavior – a grand total of 1.3 million per year. This is based on surveys and admissions from motorists regarding their overall cell phone use. However, the estimates seem to conflict with other statistics. For instance, the number of cell phone users has risen aggressively, yet the number of crashes has remained steady for the past few years.

There were close to 6 million motor vehicle incidents reported by police in 2009. The amount is roughly the same as statistics generated back in the early 1990s, at the point cell phones were only beginning to proliferate. Cell phone related crashes actually peaked in 2000, when 6.4 million crashes were reported to police and researchers began to document the phenomenon. Furthermore, insurance claims also do not reflect an increase in cell phone related incidents. The Highway Loss Data Institute suggests that the number of insurance claims for vehicular damage has remained stable despite a rise in driver phone use.

Another study in 2006 by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute employed cameras to monitor drivers in 100 vehicles through the course of a year. The study found that 4% of crashes or near accidents were the result of driving while on a cell phone.

Texting While Driving Facts

  • In 2009, over 5,000 car crashes involved distractions, a fifth of which cell phones and text messaging were involved.
  • Over 50 percent of teens have admitted to texting behind the wheel of a car.
  • More than one in five drivers have admitted to texting and driving.
  • Drivers in the U.S. that reportedly send text messages or emails while driving was 9 percent.
  • European drivers again found the most difference in these figures between the Netherlands and the U.K., reporting in at 10 and 1 percent, respectively.
  • Over half of young drivers in the U.S., again aged 18-29, have claimed to send text messages or emails at the same time as driving at least once per month, and over 25 percent stated to so frequently.

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