It is obvious that drivers who are distracted are more likely to be the cause of a car crash. Also, nearly everyone on the roads recognizes that texting while driving is one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving on Texas roadways today. However, it may not be common knowledge that texting while driving can more than double a driver's response time.
A new study by the Texas Transportation Institute found that response times in drivers who are distracted by texting are even slower than originally thought. To conduct the study, the researchers from TTI monitored 40 drivers on a driving course three separate times. The first time through, the drivers did not send or receive any text messages, the second time, they composed their own story, and the third, the drivers continuously read a fairy tale that was texted to them. The study found that the reaction time between an alert driver and one who is texting could increase from 1 to 2 seconds to more than 3 or 4 seconds. To put this in perspective, at 60 miles per hour, a car travels 440 feet in just the 5 seconds it might take to write a text message. The study did not find much difference in the response time between a driver composing a message or just reading one.
Distracted Driving Is Responsible for Thousands of Deaths Annually
Besides just slowing down reaction time, the researchers found that distracted drivers are 11 times more likely to completely miss flashing lights. They also found that texting while driving impairs a driver's ability to maintain lane position and speed. In 2009, distracted driving claimed the lives of approximately 5,500 people nationwide which represented 16 percent of the overall traffic fatalities.
While it might not be against the law yet in Texas, texting and driving is a serious danger on our North Texas roadways every day. Do not let yourself be part of the problem. No text message is worth risking your life and the life of other drivers around you.
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