Using a cellphone while driving increases crash risk. There is growing evidence that talking on a cellphone increases crash risk, though the connection hasn't been firmly established. Researchers have consistently linked texting or otherwise manipulating a cellphone to increased risk.

Bans on hand-held phone use and texting are increasingly common, but it is not clear that they reduce crashes. This is the case even though IIHS research has documented that bans on hand-held phone use reduce overall phone use. There is a disconnect between estimated crashes due to cellphone use and real-world crash trends, which indicate that crashes have been declining in recent years, even as driver phone use has increased.

Cellphones and texting aren’t the only things that can distract drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines distracted driving as any activity that could divert attention from the primary task of driving. Besides using electronic gadgets, distractions also can include adjusting a radio, eating and drinking, reading, grooming, and interacting with passengers.