Texting And Driving Accident Statistics

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Legally reviewed by Alex Uriarte on October 12, 2022 Alex Uriarte is a member of the 1-800-Injured network.


Recently it seems like half of all drivers you pass are staring down at their lap instead of paying attention to the road: staring at their phones, drifting across the lines, and thinking they are doing a perfectly good job of driving. Unfortunately, taking your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or mind off the task of operating a 1000+ lb piece of moving machinery takes more concentration than many people realize, resulting in an increase in car accidents in Miami, FL.

When someone is driving and they look down at their phone to read and respond to a text message, they are covering much more ground than they may realize. Here’s a great example: when driving 55 mph, do you know how far you travel in the time it takes to read a text? If we say it takes 4.6 seconds to read the text, a driver has traveled the length of a football field before their eyes come off the phone — if they decide to look up before responding. 

While this usually doesn’t end in a crash, the problem is that there are the instances when a driver does need to make a quick reaction, such as a child running for a ball, an animal crossing the road, or someone stopping short ahead. When we need our fast reaction times most, reading and sending text messages has unfortunately proven to interfere.

Some Staggering Texting And Driving Accident Statistics

In 2019 in the United States, more than 3,100 people were killed, and another 424,000 were injured in accidents that involved a distracted driver. Roughly 1 in 5 of those killed were not in vehicles — they were pedestrians, cyclists, and others who were not in a motor vehicle.

  • Young drivers aged 15-20 are more likely to be distracted than drivers aged 21 years or older, and about 9% of drivers aged 15-20 are distracted at the time of a crash.
  • In a 2019 survey, 39% of high school students admitted to texting or emailing while driving at least once in the past 30 days of driving.

This isn’t to say that young people are solely at fault for texting while driving accidents. While the statistics do show that younger drivers are more likely to engage in distractions such as texting while driving, the reality is that the other age groups show a fairly consistent propensity for distracted driving.

Distracted driving is a problem that knows no age boundaries, and if you’ve been involved in a crash with someone who was texting when they caused it, you deserve compensation for the many different impacts you’ve suffered as a result of someone else’s negligent driving behaviors.

Types of Distractions When Using a Phone While Driving

There are a number of different types of distractions that can occur while driving, but texting is perhaps the most dangerous because it involves all three types of distraction — visual, manual, and cognitive. To read a text message, you have to take your eyes off the road (visual), your hands off the wheel (manual), and your mind off the task at hand (cognitive).

Visual Distractions

A visual distraction is “anything that takes your eyes off the road.” This can include looking at a GPS device, adjusting the car’s climate controls, looking at passengers in the backseat, or even daydreaming. Staring at a phone while reading a text message, eyeing the keyboard while responding, or checking a notification are all visual distractions, but they also directly cause the other two distractions.

Many people are overly confident in their peripheral vision, but the truth is that our peripheral vision is not as reliable as we believe it to be.

Manual Distractions

A manual distraction is “anything that takes your hands off the wheel. ” This can include activities like fiddling with the radio, eating and drinking, grooming, or using a cell phone. Even if you’re just holding your phone in one hand and not using it, this is impeding your ability to take full control of your steering wheel if something unexpected arises.

While many people drive with one hand on the wheel (which, by the way, is not the recommended way to hold your steering wheel, whether or not you are using the other hand for something else), coordinating the use of your hands, eyes, and mind is more difficult than most people realize, and when you try to do two things at once, one of those tasks is likely to suffer.

Cognitive Distractions

A cognitive distraction is anything that takes your mind off the task of driving a motor vehicle. This can include talking to passengers, daydreaming, or being preoccupied with something else going on in your life. For many people, cell phone use — whether it’s talking, texting, or surfing the web — is the most common cognitive distraction.

Interestingly, having a conversation with a passenger in the vehicle is less distracting than having a conversation with someone on the phone. Researchers believe this is because passengers in the vehicle are aware of the driving conditions and may understand when it is appropriate or inappropriate to continue the conversation. In contrast, someone on the phone has no idea what conditions the driver is experiencing.

Contact 1-800-Injured To Connect With a Personal Injury Attorney

If you’ve been involved in an accident with a distracted driver, reach out to 1-800-Injured today to be connected with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you make sense of your situation and build a strong case for getting the compensation you are rightfully owed.

1-800-Injured is a medical and legal referral service. The sooner you contact us, the sooner you will be able to speak about your unique situation with an experienced legal professional. We will never pressure you into taking any particular legal action, and our services are available to you 24/7. Contact us today to get started.