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Times journalist tries text messaging in the simulator  (Source: Times)
Drivers who text while driving are more dangerous than those under the influence of alcohol or marijuana

A British study done by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) for the British Royal Automobile Club Foundation indicates it's more dangerous to send text messages while driving even when compared to drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The study showed that drivers who text and drive become more than one third slower than if they were coherent and not texting – this was compared to a person at the DUI limit or under the influence of marijuana.  Text messaging lowered reaction time by 35 percent, while people high on marijuana slowed down 21 percent and those who were drunk slowed down by 12 percent.

On top of those findings, people reading or writing text messages drifted out of their lane more than people who were focused solely on driving.  Texters also had a more difficult maintaining a safe distance from cars around them.

Around half of British drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 text while driving, the RAC Foundation said.  

"When texting, drivers are distracted by taking their hand off the wheel to use their phone, by trying to read small text on the phone display and by thinking about how to write their message," said Dr. Nick Reed, TRL senior human factors researcher.  "This combination of factors resulted in the impairments to reaction time and vehicle control that place the driver at a greater risk than having consumed alcohol to the legal limit for driving."

The British Department for Transport, in response to the increased danger of texting while driving, has increased the ticket for using a cell phone while driving.  In addition to increasing the fine, the agency also has launched an ad campaign to inform drivers how dangerous it is to text and drive.

Most states in the United States do not have laws banning text messaging while driving, but drivers can often times be pulled over if they are seen driving recklessly while using their mobile phone.  The state of California has banned talking on a cell phone without the use of a hands-free device, and a ban on text messaging while driving will likely go into effect in 2009.



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RE: I'm Shocked! Shocked!
By Don Tonino on 9/19/2008 8:08:14 AM , Rating: 2
The most that would be needed to, would be a rule requiring the driver to keep both hands on the weel at all times, except for when one hand is needed to do something actually related with the driving. That way, any behaviour that could be harmful would be covered without having to get deep into detail of what behaviour is more or less dangerous.


RE: I'm Shocked! Shocked!
By Digimonkey on 9/19/2008 8:25:11 AM , Rating: 2
That's a ridiculous notion. That means you couldn't even change the radio station while driving.


RE: I'm Shocked! Shocked!
By Don Tonino on 9/19/08, Rating: -1
RE: I'm Shocked! Shocked!
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 9/19/2008 8:59:42 AM , Rating: 3
I have radio controls on my steering wheel, but the controls for my seat warmers, auto climate control, A/C vents, and every thing else -- "DUH-DU-DUUUUHHHH" -- are on the center stack.

And what about the power windows? That requires you to take your hands off the wheel too.

All I'm saying is that the above actions are minor distractions while driving. However, texting while driving is just downright idiotic.


RE: I'm Shocked! Shocked!
By Sazar on 9/19/2008 1:16:54 PM , Rating: 1
You obviously need to get a newer car with voice-regonition and voice-activated gadgets.

I never have to leave the steering wheel except... when shifting gears or... when texting :o

j/k ;)


RE: I'm Shocked! Shocked!
By Myrandex on 9/19/2008 9:05:22 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not about to go purchase a new car just for buttons on the wheel...


RE: I'm Shocked! Shocked!
By Enoch2001 on 9/19/2008 9:08:30 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Ever heard of controls on the wheel? they are getting quite common these days...


Ever heard of not standard in all vehicles? Drop the sarcasm - your proposition is idiotic.


RE: I'm Shocked! Shocked!
By therealnickdanger on 9/19/2008 9:17:14 AM , Rating: 2
What would you suggest? As the posted above stated - many vehicles come with steering wheel controls (should be standard, I think). People seem content to turn a blind eye to traffic crashes, as if there is no way to stop them. The World Health Organization released a report indicating that traffic deaths are one of the biggest killers that we know of are expected to increase by 80% by 2020 as more developing nations get cars. 1.2 million people per year die in situations that could be entirely prevented with proper training and improved safety technology.


RE: I'm Shocked! Shocked!
By rudolphna on 9/19/2008 11:25:17 AM , Rating: 2
not to mention less idiots who dont know how to drive a car, being locked up.


RE: I'm Shocked! Shocked!
By foolsgambit11 on 9/20/2008 10:49:25 AM , Rating: 2
I want a study to find out how dangerous smoking while driving is. It's got to be bad - long periods of time with only one hand available for steering, worrying about where you're ashing, starting fires, burning legs, &c.


"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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