Texting While Driving Even More Dangerous Than Once Thought

by emallernee | October 7th, 2011

October 7, 2011

It’s not exactly news that texting-while-driving is a recipe for disaster, but a new study shows that the risky trend is even more dangerous than we may have previously thought.

“Essentially texting while driving doubles a driver’s reaction time,” Christine Yager, who led the study at Texas A&M University’s Texas Transportation Institute, said to Reuters on Wednesday. “That makes a driver less able to respond to sudden roadway dangers.”

The study looked at 42 drivers, ages 16 to 54, putting them on an 11-mile test track course and having them send and receive text messages. They then tested the drivers again, having them focus completely on the road.

The test relied on flashing lights. Drivers who were texting had a reaction time of three to four seconds, compared with the non-texting driver’s one to two second reaction time. All said, the driver who was texting was 11 times more likely to miss seeing the flashing light altogether.

“The act of reading and writing a text message are equally impairing and equally dangerous,” said Yager.

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