Security and Safety

What Insurance Agents Say About Texting and Driving

By Joshua Baethge 8.31.18

Turning 16 and getting a driver’s license is a rite of passage for many young Texans. But the excitement of getting behind the wheel soon wanes when kids experience their first wreck.

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of six people between the ages of 16 and 19 die every day from motor vehicle injuries in the U.S. And while teens ages 15 to 19 represent only 7 percent of the country’s population, they account for 11 percent of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries.

These crashes are the result of a number of factors — but one of the most common that Agents see when claims come in is texting or using a cell phone.


Justin Rust, a Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent out of College Station, says that he sees a lot of cases where kids back into things, especially in parking lots. Inattentive young drivers rear-ending cars at stop signs or failing to control speed are also problems.

“Younger drivers are more likely to have claims,” he says. “A lot of it is due to lack of experience and not being totally confident in what they are doing.” But some causes are less innocuous.


“They definitely need to stay off the phone,” says Buddy Cooper Jr., a Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent in Beaumont.

“A lot of these claims are for little fender benders. For the most part, these accidents are caused by them being distracted, especially on the phone.”


Dennis Smith, a Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent in Lancaster near Dallas, always asks if he can meet with young drivers when clients approach him about adding their child to a policy.

During these sessions, he attempts to explain all of the responsibilities and risks that come with driving, and how their actions can affect both them and their parents.

“To get to drive a car is great, but the car is still in mom and dad’s name, and if you drive dangerously, you put at risk everything they have done all their life up to that point so that you can drive,” Smith says.

Most importantly, he wants teenagers to realize that the actions they take behind the wheel can put their own lives at risk. He tells them that though it always seems important to respond to that text right away, or look at the latest message on your phone, it’s never worth a life.

On some phones, parents can install an app that prevents kids from checking messages while they’re on the road. Find more safety tips for driving here.

Coverage and discounts are subject to qualifications and policy terms and may vary by situation. © 2018 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance