The risk has been confirmed, right down the the number of times your crash vulnerability is increased. Matching an earlier study
by the Michigan State Medical Society, a new study says that accident risk is increased by 6 times by texting drivers. The only issue is that people don't seem to be willing to change their behavior, sans legislation.
The study, released Monday in the journal "Human Factors," was done by researchers at the University of Utah, used driving simulators. The study, titled "Text Messaging During Simulated Driving" (.PDF
), studied 40 young adults ranging in age from 19 to 23 years with an average of 21 years of age. Among the participants, 20 were women and 20 were men. The participants either did a single task (driving) or dual tasks (texting and driving) as the simulator ran. The results were apparent, as shown below in the table.
While talking on a cell phone while driving is distracting enough, particularly when a hands-free setup is not used, researchers point out that texting is a whole 'nother ball of wax.
Researchers noted that while on a voice call while driving, drivers attempt to split their attention between the tasks. However, texting requires more attention, and thus drivers actually switch tasks rather than divide their attention, which is far more dangerous.
In terms of reaction time, it is quite a simple set of figures. Median reaction time increased by 30 percent when participants were texting, and 9 percent when they talked on the cell phone, compared with when they were just driving.
It is difficult to understand why, after multiple studies and tests, the industry continues to fight against bans on cell phones while driving. Or rather, cynically, perhaps it is not. A ban on cell phone use while driving would affect the bottom line of corporations. Additionally, it is well-known that text messaging is a cash cow for wireless carriers.
Many people believe they can text and drive without impairment. This is reminiscent of how many feel they can drink and drive without an issue, too. There simply isn't enough common sense to go around to beat the issue of money, or convenience.