How Many Car Accidents Are Caused By Texting And Driving?

Most people know that texting behind the wheel can increase the likelihood of a crash, but just how many accidents are caused by texting and driving? This article explores the risk factors associated with texting and driving, why texting-related accidents are so common, and what you can do to stay safe behind the wheel.  

What Are the Dangers of Texting and Driving?

Operating a motor vehicle is inherently dangerous because there are so many risks associated with driving. Safe driving requires full and constant attention to the road. Any driving distraction substantially increases the chances of an accident.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says texting while driving is one of the most hazardous forms of distracted driving. Many drivers text while behind the wheel, assuming it is less dangerous than other risky behaviors, like driving under the influence, but that’s not the case. 

Risk Factors of Texting and Driving

Texting while driving is particularly risky because it distracts a driver in three ways. First, checking a phone screen is a visual distraction because it takes a driver’s eyes off the road. Second, typing a text message is a manual distraction because it requires drivers to take their hands off the wheel. Third, reading or replying to texts is a cognitive distraction because it takes a driver’s mind and attention off the road.

Receiving or sending a text message takes about five seconds. If you’re driving at 55 mph, you can easily travel the length of a football field in that amount of time without paying attention to your surroundings. 

How Many Accidents Are Caused by Texting and Driving?

The following data from NHTSA illustrates just how frequently texting and driving contributes to traffic accidents in the United States: 

  • The percentage of motorists who were noticeably “manipulating handheld devices” behind the wheel increased from 2.8 to 3.4 percent over a recent two-year period.
  • Drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 were the most likely to be seen using a handheld device behind the wheel.
  • The rates of handheld device manipulation increased among pickup truck drivers and drivers in urban areas.
  • There were 5.2 million traffic accidents in the U.S. in one recent year, of which 680,296 (13 percent) were distraction-related. Of the distracted driving accidents, 59,098 (9 percent) involved cell phone use.

The Consequences of Texting and Driving

Many texting and driving accidents cause significant injuries to the people involved, and some are fatal. NHTSA recently reported the following consequences of texting and driving:

  • Of the more than 35,000 fatal crashes nationwide in one year, 2,880 (8 percent) were distraction-related, resulting in 3,142 fatalities.
  • Of the 2,880 distraction-related crashes, 354 (12 percent) involved cell phone use. Fatal crashes involving cell phone use contributed to nearly 400 deaths.

How to Prevent Texting and Driving

You cannot control the behavior of other drivers, but you can decrease your temptation to text while driving and prevent distracted driving crashes by:

  • Turning your phone off or putting it in the console or other compartment while driving
  • Turning on your phone’s “do not disturb” setting while driving
  • Pulling over and parking to check or reply to messages that can’t wait
  • Modeling safe behavior while driving and talking to your kids about the dangers of texting while driving
  • Offering to handle navigation and communications if you’re a passenger

Injured by a Texting Driver? Contact Us Today

If you got hurt in an accident involving a driver who was texting behind the wheel, reach out to Sumner Law Group, LLC. We are ready to explain your legal options and evaluate your case for free during an initial consultation. 

Brent Sumner

Brent A. Sumner is the Managing Partner at Sumner Law Group, LLC. He focuses his practice exclusively on cases that involve serious personal injuries. Over the years, he has successfully represented thousands of individuals and families, recovering millions of dollars in compensation for injured accident victims.