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Texas study shows texting could double drivers' reaction times

Posted October 5, 2011

— Texting while driving is illegal in North Carolina and carries a $100 fine because lawmakers deemed it a dangerous distraction on the road, but a new study out of Texas suggests that it may be more of a hazard than anyone imagined.

Statistics show that distracted driving contributes to nearly 20 percent of fatal crashes. Now, researchers with the Texas Transportation Institute are reporting that texting while driving could as much as double reaction times behind the wheel.

The study was the first to look at texting in a real driving environment. Dozens of people had to read and type a story on their phones while they drove along an 11-mile closed track. Then, they had to react to a flashing light.

When focused on the road, the drivers typically reacted within two seconds of seeing the light. When they were texting, however, it took up to four seconds for drivers to react.

Texting while driving Texas study shows dangers of texting behind wheel

That's not all. The drivers who were texting were also 11 times more likely to miss the light altogether.

"Drivers have only half as much time to respond to sudden events in their driving environment, whether that's a swerving vehicle, a vehicle that brakes in front of them or a pedestrian," Texas researcher Christine Yager said Wednesday.

Yager said that texting was dangerous even at slow speeds in wide driving lanes.

"There were still many close calls. We had participants strike barrels," she said. "It's just really scary to think this is happening on our public roadways."


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  • loprestw Oct 6, 2011

    Anyone who ever rode a motorcycle can tell you, cell phones and driving does not mix. A lot of people who have trouble walking and chew gum at the same time are driving and talking on the cell phone.

  • You Dont Know The Facts Oct 6, 2011

    You get caught using a cell phone PERIOD while driving...mandatory 1 year suspension of driving PRIVILAGES and a $1,000.00 fine. Cannot pay the fine...30 days in county lockup working Chain Gang!!!!!!!!!!

  • soyousay Oct 5, 2011

    jg..There is no difference in dialing a phone or texting !!

    you must be calling international that would be a very long number

  • markcolyer2 Oct 5, 2011

    They could have paid me a lot less than that ridiculous study and I could have told them the same thing

  • nighttrain2010 Oct 5, 2011

    >>There is no difference in dialing a phone or texting !! - jgedwardsjr

    Well perhaps we need to ban that too. You know considering driving styles we should ban driving as well. Just have a bus come pick us up and take us where we are going. But I imagine the government will know best where to take us, so they can redefine where we work as well. For 'safety purposes' you know....

  • davidgnews Oct 5, 2011

    How much did this 'study' cost Texas? It's kind of like overstating the obvious, isn't it?

  • areyou.serious Oct 5, 2011

    dialing a number is synonymous with sending 1 text. Texting is more of an iterative process continuing indefinitely.

  • jgedwardsjr Oct 5, 2011

    There is no difference in dialing a phone or texting !!

  • Made In USA Oct 5, 2011

    Is there a difference between texting and dialing a number to call?