Texting while driving increases the risk of a crash much more than previous studies have originally found with motorists who are taking their eyes off the road longer than they do when talking or listening on their cell phones, a safety research institute has released Monday.
Research has been done by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute where they used cameras to continuously observe car drivers and truckers for a little more than 6 million miles. In this study they found that when drivers of heavy trucks texted, it clearly showed that their collision risk increased by 23 times more than when not texting. Dialing a mobile phone and using or reaching for an electronic device increased risk of collision about 6 times in cars and trucks.
There had been other recent studies using driving simulators that had suggested that talking and listening were just as dangerous as texting, but the "naturalistic driving studies clearly show that this is not the case," a news release from the institute said. Clearly, the risks of texting applied to all drivers, not just truckers, according to the researchers.
This unique study showed that right before a crash or near collision, drivers spent nearly five seconds looking at their devices, which equates to the time a vehicle traveling at 55 mph is needed to cover more than the length of a football field.
According to the Institute, "Talking or listening to a cell phone allowed drivers to maintain eyes on the road and were not associated with an increased safety risk to nearly the same degree," and “that these results show conclusively that a real key to significantly improving safety is keeping your eyes on the road."
The research recommends that texting should be completely banned for all drivers and all cell phone use should be prohibited for newly licensed teen drivers. There are already fourteen states that have banned texting while driving.
The Institute concluded that headset cell phone use is not substantially safer than hand-held because the primary risks associated with both are answering, dialing, and other tasks that take drivers’ eyes off the road. Voice activated systems are less risky if they are designed well enough so drivers do not have to take their eyes off the road often or for long periods of time.
Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm is based in Virginia (VA), with an office also in Elizabeth City, in Northeast North Carolina (NC), practicing primarily in the southeastern U.S. and handles only injury law, including car, truck, railroad, and medical negligence cases and more. Our Carolina injury law website is: http://carolina.hsinjurylaw.com, the firm edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, as well as the Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard and also hosts a YouTube injury law video library covering many FAQ’s on personal injury subjects. Lawyers licensed in: VA, NC, SC, WV, DC, KY.