distracted walker
distracted driver

Survey Introduction

It might not seem all that obvious, but we are living in a nation where owning a cell phone has become deadly and not owning some type of coverage for your life should be considered irresponsible. This is because we communicate in a completely different way than we used to and are allowing things like push news alerts, text messages, and social media to put us in distracting situations that are ultimately causing our deaths or the deaths of others.  The sad thing is that it doesn't seem to be slowing down, and we wondered what was the underlying cause of these deaths and how has owning a cell phone become so dangerous? 

Based on historic data we found from the United States Department Of Transportation we structured our own 2020 survey to benchmark deaths related to cell phone use and driving habits. The survey was run on 1,430 drivers from the USA from 2/1/2020 to 2/26/2020. 

Survey Results


We Can't Stop Texting & Driving

Even though the risks are very clear, we still don't seem to understand the dangers of driving and being distracted. These distractions are mainly caused by a cell phone, when driving.  The amount of deaths caused by distracted drivers are constantly increasing, and over time, it looks like the more people that have cell phones, the higher the distracted drivers deaths increase.  

Cell Phones & Distracted Driving

distracted driving deaths
driving phone distractions

Based on the above numbers we can easily see a direct correlation of the increase in smart phone use while driving with an increase of deaths caused by distracted driving. This trend is only increasing!

Key Findings

  • 88% of drivers use their smartphone While Driving
  • Drivers Use Their Phones for up to 3.5 minutes per hour when driving 
  • 1 out of every 4 car accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving.
  • Cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year.
  • 21% of teen drivers involved in fatal accidents were distracted by their cell phones.
  • over 68% of Drivers text while driving
  • 94% of drivers support a ban on texting while driving.

Just reviewing the above statistics, you can see that even though people know how dangerous texting and driving is, they still will not stop doing it.  The same people that are calling for a Ban on it, are the same people who are actually still doing it.

We Don't "Look Both Ways" Anymore

It seems that we can't keep our eyes focused on where we are going.  We seem to be very focused on the task of looking at our phones and getting news updates.  Eventually, walking could become more dangerous than driving. 

pedestrian deaths
pedestrians crossing on cell phones

Based on the data above we can see that pedestrian deaths are increasing year after year. 

The data also shows us that drivers are seeing more pedestrians who are not looking both ways before they cross the street, instead they are looking at their cell phones.

Key Findings

  • In 2019 Over 80% of Drivers witnessed Pedestrians Cross The Street While Looking At their Cell Phones 
  • Pedestrian deaths rose by 27 percent from 2007 to 2017
  • 5 states — CA, FL, TX, NY and AZ — accounted for 43% of pedestrian deaths during the first half of 2017
  • Pedestrian deaths Make Up 16% of total traffic fatalities

What can we determine based on the above data?

  • People Are More Distracted: Part of the above numbers are coming from distracted drivers as well as distracted pedestrians. 
  • Texting & Walking Is A Bad Idea: Walking across a crosswalk with your head in your phone is a horrible idea... Right? 
  • Cars Are Becoming Safer: Technology is making cars much safer, causing less accidents overall. 
  • Cell Phones Are The Cause: The number of pedestrian deaths have increased right along with cell phone ownership.

Cell Phone Deaths Are Being Hidden

Another issue we are running into is that cell phone deaths aren't being counted as cell phone deaths, instead they are being logged as accidental deaths or other deaths caused by distractions.  This is a bad thing because it means less attention is being given to the fact that these deaths are being caused by cell phones.  

unexplained traffic deaths
non phone distractions when driving
chance of cell phone use

In 2019 we see that around 90% of people said they will use their cell phone while driving. The same 90% also said they might also be eating food or drinking a soda.

This means that only a very small percentage of people are actually focused solely on the road, so if you have over 90% of people using their phone, eating, drinking and putting on make up, it is a high probability that these unexplained deaths have been explained and we just don't want Cell Phones to be the answer. 

We Are Dying To Take A Selfie

The fact that we are dying to take selfies is true in both the literal and figurative use of the statement.  Our 2019 survey gave us a quick idea of other factors causing the increase in selfie deaths.  Outside of deaths are being caused by thrill seekers and people who just aren't paying attention to their surroundings, drivers are also part of the problem.

selfie related deaths
selfie vs going live when driving

Looking at the above data, you can see that these trends aren't slowing down and based on our recent 2019 survey, we can conclude that:

  • The Risk Of Death Doesn't Seem To Matter: More than 15% of drivers said they take selfies while driving in 2019.
  • We Want Our Own Reality TV Show: In 2019 we found that 5% of drivers "Go Live" while driving.  
  • Selfie Deaths Could Be Under Reported: More deaths could be caused by drivers taking selfies that aren't reported.  

We Are Completely Under Insured

Even though we seem to have no problem risking our lives for a tweet here or a text there, or going live, or trying to get that perfect selfie, we aren't doing much to protect ourselves and our family if something happens.  

drivers with life insurance
drivers with life insurance how much

Key Findings:

  • Over 60% of Drivers have life insurance.
  • 30% of drivers Have Absolutely No Life Insurance Even Though They All Text And Drive. 
  • Over 50% of drivers have less than $100,000 in life insurance.
  • 75% of our respondents Don't have the Recommended 10X their annual income in life insurance.

Of the people that took this survey, none of their family's would have been able to survive financially for more than a year if they were to pass away.  This is quite alarming since none of us seem to care about the risks of cell phones. 

Whenever we get behind the wheel we are taking a risk. That risk increases drastically when we start becoming distracted.  


Teen Driver Cell Phone Statistics

Teens Just Want To Have Fun

Unfortunately, they really shouldn't be having fun while attempting to drive.  Teens are the most at risk when it comes to driving and they are also are the ones that are most distracted when driving.  On average, there are about 3,200 deaths per day from fatal car wrecks and about 9 of them are related to a driver being distracted. 

Below, we look at the alarming facts and statistics related to teens in regards to texting while driving or being distracted while driving:

  • According to AAA , 94% of teen drivers understand the dangers of texting and driving, but 35% do it anyway.
  • 21% of teen drivers involved in fatal accidents were distracted by their cell phones.
  • Teen drivers are 4X more likely than adults to get into car crashes when talking or texting on a cell phone.
  • A teen driver with only one additional passenger doubles the risk of getting into a fatal car accident.
  • Driver distraction is reported to be responsible for more than 58% of teen crashes.
  • A teen driver with two or more passengers are 5X as likely to get into a fatal car accident.
  • At the time of fatal crashes, teens have been the largest age group that reported being distracted while driving.
  • Car crashes are the number one killer of teens in the U.S.
  • 16 to 19 year-olds are three times as likely to be involved in a fatal car crash than any other age group.
  • While drinking & driving fatalities have decreased in teens, the number of traffic fatalities have not.
  • The CDC reports that teens who reported frequent texting while driving was also less likely to wear a seat belt.
  • A quarter of teens report that they answer a text once or more every time they drive.
  • 20% of teens and 10% of parents cite that they have multi-message text conversations while they’re behind the wheel.
  • Teen drivers are 3X as likely to look away from the road when using an electronic device.
  • Only 1 in 5 teens believes that texting impacts their personal driving performance.
  • 82% of U.S. teens have a cell phone. 52% of these teens say they talk on the phone while driving and 32% text.


2012 - 2017 Detailed Statistics

Cell Phones & Distracted Driving

  • Approximately 660,000 drivers use their cell phones while driving during daylight hours.
  • Sending or reading a text while driving is equal to driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
  • The National Safety Council says that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes annually.
  • There is no difference in the cognitive distraction between using a handheld or hands-free device while driving.
  • Drivers are 12.2 times more likely to crash while dialing a phone.
  • A poll shows that 77% of adult drivers believe that they can easily manage texting while also navigating the road.
  • 28% of people say they suffer from the fear of missing out (FOMO) so they use their phone while driving.
  • Texting while driving is 6 times more likely to cause an accident than driving under the influence of alcohol is.
  • 1 out of every 4 traffic crashes that occur in the U.S. are caused by cell phone usage.
  • Texting while driving results in 400% more time with a driver’s eyes off the road.
  • A University of Utah study found that the reaction time of a teen using a cell phone is equal to that of a 70-year-old woman who is not using a hand-held device.

Distracted Driving: Behind The Numbers 

  • Distracted driving accounts for approximately 25% of all motor vehicle crash fatalities.
  • In 2015, 391,000 injuries were caused in distracted driving related accidents.
  • Distracted driving was cited as a major factor in 3,477 traffic deaths in 2015 as well.
  • 9 people in the U.S. are killed each day as a result of crashes involving a distracted driver, according to the DMV
  • Distracted driving has been called an American epidemic and is completely preventable.
  • It takes only 3 seconds after a driver’s attention has been diverted from the road for a crash to occur.
  • Americans are driving more miles now than ever before, resulting in more traffic accidents and fatalities.
  • Distracted driving is now commonly known as the, “new drunk driving”.

Distracted Driving: Contributing Factors

  • Changing the radio station or the car temperature accounts for 2% of traffic fatalities caused by distracted driving.
  • Other foods that are said to be major distractions are hot soups, tacos, burgers, chocolate, and soda.
  • The NHTSA found that those who eat or drink while driving are 80% more likely to get into an accident.
  • Multitasking technology is convenient; however, it contributes to the distracted driving epidemic.
  • 53% of drivers believe that if car manufacturers incorporate “infotainment” dashboards they must be safe to use.
  • Driving with companions is a major distraction that leads to 5% of traffic fatalities in relation to distracted driving.
  • 65% of dog owners state that they’ve been distracted while driving with their pet as a passenger.
  • Shockingly, only 1% of distracted driving crashes relate to lighting or putting out a cigarette while driving.
  • The largest cause of distracted driving crashes—coming in at 62%—is a driver being lost in thought.

The Laws Behind Distracted Driving

  • 16 States in the U.S. and the District of Columbia had banned drivers from using hand-held phones as of April 2018.
  • As of April 2018, 48 states and the District of Columbia had banned texting while driving.
  • While many states are enacting laws against texting and driving, the effectiveness of these laws requires further study. 
  • Many states have adopted graduated driver licensing systems for teen drivers to lower the risk of distracted driving and of new drivers having passengers in the car with them.

Distracted Driving Help & Awareness

  • AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign has had over 36 Million people pledge not to drive distracted.
  • The automotive and tech industries are both working to use technology in order to mitigate distracted driver dangers.
  • The Road to Zero initiative was created by the NSC, in partnership with the NHTSA, FHA, & FMCSA in 2016 with the mission to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2050.
  • The End Distracted Driving Campaign (End DD) has 700 volunteer speakers that have given talks to more than 400,000 people all over the country about the dangers of distracted driving since 2012.

Wrapping Up & Taking Action

In all honesty, this doesn't look good for us, while we are all afraid of the reality that one day a rouge A.I. will take over and run the world, right now, it's our own cell phone that is causing our deaths. 

Obtaining some type of life insurance is imperative and it is the only true way to protect ourselves from this "new predator" known as the Cell Phone.  There is really no excuse when it comes to getting covered because there are plenty of options that give you instant life insurance or no medical life insurance.

All the studies show that even though we know it is wrong to text and drive, or text and walk, 98% of us will still do it. We vote on measures to make it illegal to text and drive or text and walk and we still do it ourselves.  

We are also taking selfies in the most dangerous of places, without a regard for our safety and continue to fall to our deaths.  This is all from being too involved in our cell phones and not paying enough attention to our surroundings.   Cell phones aren't going anywhere anytime soon, so all we can do is figure out a way to better co-exist with them.



  • Location: All respondents are from the United States
  • Location: All respondents are from the United States
  • Millennials, Generation X, & Baby Boomers: Born 1959 - 2001 (18 - 60) 
  • Respondents: Over 1,400 respondents participated
  • Survey Date: The survey was conducted by Simply Insurance between 2/01/2019 - 2/26/2019
  • Other Data Sources: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,  AAA Exchange