Texting almost four times more dangerous than drunk driving
In a 2008 study, researchers compared 3 types of problematic behaviors: texting while driving, driving under the influence of alcohol, and driving under the influence of cannabis. Their results showed that cellphone were more distracting than alcohol or cannabis while driving
According to the RAC Foundation, the reaction mechanism when texting while driving is 45.9% slower than an undistracted driver, compared to 21% for drivers under the influence of cannabis and only 12.4% when driving at the legal alcohol limit of .08.
It appears that the combination of driving a vehicle while holding a phone and composing a text message also affects the ability to maintain lane positioning. Texting drivers displayed an increase of around 35% in lane swirls compared with those under the influence of cannabis and 14% under the influence of alcohol.
An interesting fact was that texting drivers drove around 2.2% to 4.8% slower when using their phone while on the road. It seems many drivers tried to compensate for their behavior by driving slower than usual.
But as the research shows, driving slower does not mean undistracted driving.
Source: The RAC Foundation, The Effect Of Text Messaging On Driver Behaviour, September 2008