Bloomington, IL,
12:35 PM

Smartphones While Driving: We Know It’s Risky. So Why Do We Do It?

Annual survey from State Farm™ explores reasons for using a cellphone while driving.

State Farm today released the results of its eighth survey exploring attitudes and behaviors regarding distracted driving. The report follows major trends in cellphone use and explores many of the distractions that take eyes, hands and minds off driving.

Nearly all drivers, 91 percent, reported owning a smartphone, and more than half say they use them while driving. Though distracted driving continues to be all too common, the news is not all bad. After several years of steady increases in distracting cellphone activities, only taking pictures and recording videos saw significant increases this year.

Relationship between cellphone use and crashes

The report shows a significant relationship between self-reported rates of cellphone use and self-reported number of crashes. People who indicated they use their cellphones while driving were more likely to have been in a crash compared to those who said they rarely or never use their phones while driving.

Cellphone use is an indication of other risky driving behaviors

Survey respondents were asked about the various types of smartphone activities they participate in. They were also questioned about other risky driving behaviors such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, racing, failing to wear a seatbelt, and driving while drowsy. The relationship was clear. The greater the number of smartphone activities drivers engaged in while behind the wheel, the more likely they were to participate in other risky behaviors as well.

Drivers know the risk, but can’t resist

Survey respondents reported using smartphones while driving despite finding them distracting. And despite thinking the behavior increases the likelihood of a crash. When asked why, they provided reasons such as improved efficiency, need to stay in touch, habit, searching for information on the internet, and seeing something they want to share.

“Today’s drivers are faced with an ever-growing number of demands on their attention that may distract them from the critical task of driving,” said Chris Mullen, Director of Technology Research at State Farm.

“Every day we make choices about the risks we are willing to take when behind the wheel. We encourage everyone to take personal responsibility in adopting safer driving habits, for the benefit of themselves, their families, and all who share our roadways.”

The survey was conducted as part of our ongoing research into highway safety issues. It did not involve any policyholder claim information. The full survey can be found here.



The survey said,

About the Survey

In August 2016, the State Farm Strategic Resources Department used an outside panel vendor to conduct an online survey of U.S. consumers ages 18 and over. Survey responses were received from approximately 1,000 consumers who reported owning a cellphone, having a valid driver's license and driving at least one hour per week. A number of changes were made to the survey research in 2016 such that results in this report should not be compared with the results in the 2015 "Distracted Driving" report also produced by State Farm, except where noted.

About State Farm®:

For over 100 years, the mission of State Farm has been to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected and realize their dreams. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto and home insurance in the United States. Its more than 19,400 agents and 67,000 employees serve over 91 million policies and accounts – including auto, fire, lifehealth, commercial policies and financial services accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for rentersbusiness ownersboats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 44 on the 2023 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit

Media Contact