Young drivers’ texting more than doubles the risk of crash
In 2004, an Australian poll showed that nearly 58% of young drivers between 16 and 21 years old have used text messaging on their cell phone while driving, which is almost twice the proportion of more experienced drivers (31%). More recently, the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Research Center reported that about a third of texting teens have texted while driving.
Since inexperienced drivers are vulnerable to distractions and more likely to be involved in crashes, a 2009 study from Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, chose to measure the effects of text messaging on driving performance with young drivers.
The results showed that young motorists spent up to approximately 400% more of their driving time not looking at the road because of their text messaging habit. Also, young drivers swerved 50% more times than undistracted drivers and made 28% more lane changes when reading or sending text messages.
According to this study:
“Increases in the amount of time that drivers spend looking away from the road to interface with an in-vehicle device can lead to degraded driving performance, such as increased steering wheel deviations, increases in the frequency of lane excursions and undetected hazards, and negative effects on drivers’ speed and lane position”. This research confirms the previous findings that “off road glances of duration longer than 2 seconds more than doubles the risk of a crash.
It is worth nothing that “manual input while driving leads to degraded driving performance, and these decrements have been found to be greater than those that occur when using voice-activated devices.”
Source: The Effects of Text Messaging on Young Drivers, Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, August 19, 2009
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