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Research & Data

Distracted Driving

Recognizing the safety concerns associated with the use of a cell phone while driving, New York became the first state in the nation to prohibit the use of hand-held cell phones while driving, effective November 1, 2001, and enacted further legislation that prohibited text messaging for all drivers, effective November 1, 2009. Studies examine the effects of cell phone use and other driver distractions on highway safety.

distracted driving

Research Notes & Reports

Cell Phone Use and Distracted Driving

distracted driving cell phone useThis study examined the effects of cell phone use and other driver distractions on highway safety. Focusing on the five-year period, 2015-2019, the study involved the analyses of crash and ticket data and a survey of driver behavior with respect to cell phone use. The objectives of these analyses were to determine the status of cell phone use and texting among drivers, the extent to which distracted driving is cited as a factor in crashes, the level of enforcement of the law and public perceptions.

Key Findings

  • 26% of police-reported F&PI crashes had “driver inattention/distraction” reported as a contributing factor in 2019, up from 22% in 2015.
  • More than 1 million tickets were issued for cell phone violations in the five years 2015-2019.
  • 68% of the drivers ticketed in 2019 were men; 52% of the drivers ticketed were ages 21-39.
(Published January 2021)
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Fact Sheets

Cell Phone Use 2018-2022

December 2023

Cell Phone Use 2017-2021

December 2022

Cell Phone Use 2016-2020

November 2021

Cell Phone Use 2015-2019

November 2020

Cell Phone Use 2014-2018

October 2019

Discover more data in the Traffic Safety Statistical Repository (TSSR)

Developed to provide broader access to New York’s traffic safety data, the TSSR contains motor vehicle crash data obtained from the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Accident Information System (AIS) over the past 10 years, including preliminary data for the current year.