Distracted driving is incredibly dangerous. Taking your eyes off the road, taking your hands off the wheel, or letting your mind focus on things other than driving are all dangerous behaviors behind the wheel, and texting involves all three forms of distracted driving.
Texting and driving can get you a ticket, cause an accident, and potentially cause an increase in your car insurance rates.
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What are the dangers of texting while driving?
Texting and driving may seem innocent, but even a quick text while you’re behind the wheel could cause a serious accident. According to the CDC, reading or sending a text while driving 55 miles per hour is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
How many accidents are caused by texting and driving?
In 2019, over 3,100 people were killed and another 424,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. Approximately 20% of the people who died in crashes with a distracted driver that year were pedestrians or bicyclists. 
Although not every distracted driver is texting, cell phone use (including texting) is still a major contributor to car accidents. In fact, the average driver is two to nine times more likely to be in an accident if they are texting while driving. 
Types of crashes in 2020
Number of crashes
Number of fatalities
Total fatal crashes
Number of distraction-affected fatal crashes
Number of cell phone distraction-affected fatal crashes
Source: Insurance Information Institute
How many people die from texting and driving?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,142 people died from distracted driving in 2020.  Of those fatalities, 396 were attributed to cell phone use while driving.
But some sources think the number of texting-related fatalities may actually be much higher because drivers are unlikely to say they were texting at the time of an accident. 
Teen texting and driving statistics
Teen drivers are more likely to be in an accident than older drivers and distracted driving is a big part of that. The increased likelihood of being in an accident is a big reason why teens pay higher car insurance rates than adult drivers.
60% of teens 18 and older admit to texting while driving. 
According to the CDC, a teen’s grades don’t have any impact on whether or not they text and drive — teens who earn As or Bs are just as likely to text and drive as teens with lower GPAs.
Teen drivers were 21% more likely to text while driving if they admitted to infrequent seatbelt use. 
According to the NHTSA, handheld cell phone use tends to be highest among 16- to 24-year-old drivers.
Texting and driving by state
It is against the law to text while driving in almost every state. Montana is the only state that doesn’t have any laws about texting and driving, but every state has their own approach to setting distracted driving laws.
For example, California bans both texting and driving and hand-held phone conversations for drivers of any age, while Texas bans texting and driving but allows hand-held cell phone use as long as you aren’t in a school crossing or on public school property.
Consequences for texting and driving also vary by state, but can include tickets, fines, mandatory court appearances, points on your licenses, and even suspension of your driver’s license.
Does texting and driving affect your car insurance rates?
Yes, texting and driving can affect your car insurance rates in a number of ways, but getting caught texting and driving or getting into a texting-related accident will almost certainly have an impact on your rates.
1. Higher rates after an accident
If you are in an accident or get a moving violation due to texting while driving, that will show up on your driving record and it will likely cause your car insurance rates to go up.
2. Missing out on a usage-based discount
Many car insurance companies now offer policies with reduced rates in exchange for tracking your driving behavior through an app. If you have one of these policies, your insurance company will be able to see if you are using your phone while driving and you will see your insurance rates go up accordingly.
3. Rate increases for everyone else
Because texting and driving causes hundreds of accidents each year, insurance companies have to pay those claims. Then those costs are passed onto their customers in the form of higher rates for everyone, even for safe drivers.
4. Needing an SR-22
If you’re caught texting and driving more than once, and you get enough points on your license or have it suspended by the state, you’ll need SR-22 car insurance to get it back. That really just means you need your insurance company to file an SR-22 form for you, but it also means you’ll be labeled a high-risk driver and it may be hard for you to find car insurance from a standard company (let alone affordable rates).
Ways to avoid texting and driving
If you feel tempted to text and drive, there are ways to avoid it and keep yourself safe on the road, including:
Put your phone away: If possible, put your phone out of reach. Keeping your phone in your glove box, trunk, or back seat is a good way to guarantee you won’t be able to use it while driving.
Set up do not disturb: There are a number of apps that can prevent your phone from being a distraction while you drive, but you can use the do not disturb function on your phone to mute incoming calls and texts without downloading anything at all.
Give it to a passenger: If you have someone else riding with you, let them hold your phone. Your passenger can put your phone away or answer calls and texts for you so you can focus on the road.