Texting driver 6 times more likely to crash: study

WASHINGTON Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:55am IST

A driver checks his phone while sitting in his car in New York City, December 10, 2009. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi

A driver checks his phone while sitting in his car in New York City, December 10, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Text-messaging drivers are six times more likely to get into an accident than drivers who do not text, researchers said in a study released on Monday.

The researchers say the study, using simulator vehicles and identical traffic scenarios, also found the risk of texting behind the wheel appeared to be significantly higher than talking on a cell phone while driving, another dangerous distraction.

"When people talk on the phone while driving they are four times more likely to get into an accident. Here we find another ... increase in this risk," said researcher Frank Drews of the University of Utah, citing previous research.

While other studies have shown the dangers of text messaging while driving, Drews in a telephone interview said theirs is the first to examine accidents rather than "close calls."

The study, published in the journal Human Factors, evaluated the driving performance of 20 pairs of self-described experienced text messengers using their own cell phones.

The drivers, aged 19 to 23, were instructed to plan an evening outing in which they had to arrange a number of activities.

"Their task was to drive, single-task driving in the simulator to assess baseline performance," Drews said. "In the next step, they (researchers) had them text message with friends who were in a different room while they were driving."

During the study, there were seven collisions, each caused by different drivers. Six of the crashes (86 percent) happened while drivers were text messaging. Only one accident occurred while the participant was simply driving.

The study found that text messaging drivers were slower to react to vehicles' brake lights ahead of them and were much more likely to drift into other lanes.

"Their response time to the onset of this braking light was delayed by about 20 percent, a significant delay in reaction time," Drews said.

Citing previous studies on the dangers of texting and driving, some U.S. lawmakers have started a push for all 50 states to outlaw texting behind the wheel.

Figures released by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration this year showed more than 5,800 distracted driving deaths and 515,000 injuries in 2008.

(Editing by Maggie Fox and Vicki Allen)

FILED UNDER:
Photo

After wave of QE, onus shifts to leaders to boost economy

DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.

SAG Awards

The cast of "Birdman" (L-R) Andrea Riseborough, Emma Stone, Amy Ryan, Naomi Watts, Edward Norton and Michael Keaton pose backstage with their award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the 21st annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, California January 25, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Blake

'Birdman' wins top honor from actors in march toward Oscars

The show business satire "Birdman" picked up another important award in its march toward the best picture Oscar by winning the top honor from Hollywood's actors on Sunday.  Full Article 

Reuters Showcase

Banking Revolution

Banking Revolution

India turns to corner shops, mobile phones for banking revolution.  Full Article 

Nuclear Group

Nuclear Group

China urges India to take steps to satisfy standards of NSG  Full Article 

Gold Market

Gold Market

Chinese gold demand holds up ahead of holiday, Indian buying weak  Full Article 

India-U.S. Relations

India-U.S. Relations

Column - U.S. and India should join to balance China's rise  Full Article 

Nuclear Deal

Nuclear Deal

Obama reveals nuclear breakthrough on landmark India trip  Full Article 

Australian Open

Australian Open

Serena avenges French Open loss to reach quarter-finals.  Full Article 

Miss Universe

Miss Universe

Miss Colombia is crowned Miss Universe for 2015.  Full Article 

SAG Awards

SAG Awards

'Birdman' wins top honor from actors in march toward Oscars.  Full Article 

Climate Change

Climate Change

U.S.-China climate deal does not put pressure on India, says Modi  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage