A study conducted at the University of Utah has found that drivers who text while driving are six times more likely to get in an accident than drivers who are not texting. Researchers found that, when texting, drivers take their entire attention away from the road and concentrate more on composing and reading the text messages. Texting while driving is 50% riskier than talking on a cell phone, which also impairs driving abilities.
The study was headed by Frank Drews and David Strayer. Researchers used a three-screen driving simulator, adapted by Strayer, to allow the documentation of participants' reaction times, trailing distances, and other driving behaviors in conjunction with nondriving tasks. The latest study consisted of 20 college student, ages 19-23. All participants used their personal cell phones and admitted to texting while driving at least once a week. During the study each participant was asked to pilot the simulator while trying to maintain a texting conversation with their friend. To mimic actual texting, participants were instructed to coordinate evening activities.
The results are shocking. Researchers found that reaction times were 30% slower for texting drivers. In addition, participants inadvertently switched lanes, trailing distances were more varied, and some crashed into the cars in front of them. Out of the seven collisions that occurred during the study, six involved someone who was texting while driving.
To read the fill article from the Salt Lake Tribune, click here.
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