Shocking Distracted Driving Statistics

Distracted driving is a public epidemic that has taken countless lives over the years. Driving while talking on the phone, texting, browsing the web, scrolling through social media, eating, drinking, or engaging in behavior requiring taking your eyes off the road has been proven dangerous, yet too many people continue to operate a vehicle while preoccupied with something else.

Here are a few alarming facts about distracted driving you should know.


  • More than 3,000 people die in car accidents caused by distracted driving each year.1
  • Nearly 30,000 people have died as the result of distracted driving in the last decade.1
  • 8% of fatal crashes and 14% of injury crashes in 2021 involved distracted driving.1
  • 2,880 fatal accidents involved a distracted driver in 2020.1
  • In 2020, 354 fatal crashes involved cell phone use.1
  • 587 pedestrians and cyclists were killed in distracted driving-related accidents in 2020.1
  • At any given time, 660,000 drivers in the U.S. are on their phones while driving.1
  • The risk of crashing is up to 6 times greater when drivers use a cellphone.2
  • On average, sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. When you’re traveling 55 mph, that’s the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.
  • Distracted driving behaviors spike at night, typically between 6:00 pm and 11:00 pm.3
  • 42% of American high school students have admitted to texting while driving.4
  • 36.4% of drivers completely agree that using a mobile device negatively affects driving ability, yet 36% admit to using their cellphone while driving.5
  • 56.7% of people eat or drink while driving.5
  • 40 people were killed by distracted driving in Wisconsin in 2021 — up from 31 in 2020 and 26 in 2019.6
  • When asked about their top distractions while driving, 38% of survey respondents said texting, 25% said operating the GPS navigation system, 24% said dealing with fussy children, and 17% said adjusting the music settings.7
  • Over half (51%) of drivers look up directions on their phones while the car is in motion.8

Keeping your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel can be a matter of life and death — literally. Staying focused on the drive is essential, no matter how seasoned of a driver you are or the distance you’re traveling. If you’re ever involved in a driving-related accident, having the right car insurance is critical. To learn more, contact your local Rural Mutual agent today.

[1] National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[2] AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

[3] Cambridge Mobile Telematics

[4] TeenDriversSource

[5] The Zebra

[6] Wisconsin Department of Transportation


[8] iDriveSafely