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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: Dragon Naturally speaking for crackberry
By Don Tonino on 9/19/2008 8:27:38 AM , Rating: 4
If it's something that urgent to communicate, it would be easier and quickest just to call... a text can wait my next stop to be answered, or sent.

RE: Dragon Naturally speaking for crackberry
By Mitch101 on 9/19/2008 9:22:45 AM , Rating: 2
I work in e-mail and when I mention picking up the phone and calling they seem shocked as if I am describing a new technology to them.

Im also convinced bravery increases the more detached one is.

In Person ---- Phone ---- E-mail ---- Texting

I certainly believe one will say things in text/e-mail to the same person they wouldn't actually say in person. This applies to business not just personal.

RE: Dragon Naturally speaking for crackberry
By Mitch101 on 9/19/2008 9:26:12 AM , Rating: 2
I should also have added that texting/e-mail comments get taken out of context far more than had someone made the phone call and could hear the tone of someones voice.

By Don Tonino on 9/19/2008 9:35:24 AM , Rating: 2
That could easily happen, if you are texting to someone you are not close with. Sometimes even a work mail can get a somehow different meaning (reading harsher, or softer than intended), that's why I'm more for talking when there's something important at hand to be settled - it saves misunderstandings and time as well.

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher
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