Cell Phone Use and Texting While Driving Facts and Statistics

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 very dangerous. In 2021, 3,522 people died in distraction-related crashes, up 12% from the year before and accounting for 8.2% of all road deaths. 

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 talking on a cell phone while driving and texting and driving:

Benefits of Not 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. 

Recent research published in the Journal of Adolescent Health also shows promise in helping young adults not text while driving. The 6-week interactive text messaging program reduced self-reported texting while driving among 18 to 25-year-old participants. 


In 2020, 7% of drivers ages 15-20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted, the largest proportion for any age group. 

More Cell Phone Use & Texting While Driving Facts and Statistics

  • In 2019, 39% of high school students reported texting or emailing while driving during the past month.
  • 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.
  • Young drivers with ADHD are 15% more likely to be inattentive compared to those without ADHD.