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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 lightfoot on 9/20/2008 12:46:49 AM , Rating: 2
I'm amazed at your flawed logic.
If that girl caused an accident involving another vehicle, the wrecked ones would fall behind and catch you at any given moment.

If an accident occurs in front of you and you can not slow down enough to avoid it - you are following too closely. I'd much rather be caught up in a traffic jam than be the person who got rear ended by a distracted driver.

Getting far away from reckless drivers is, at least to me, more important than obeying a, mostly always poorly set, speed limit.

You mean to tell me that you intentionally try to outrun a drunk/impaired/distracted driver? Speed kills - the faster you are travelling the more likely you are to be injured or killed. Speed limits are set for a reason.

If one given day you are driving in a 30mph limited area and everybody behind you is approaching fast at, lets say, 75mph, you'd better disobey the law and go a bit faster if you don't wanna be ran over.

Let's think about this for a second... If the speed limit is 30 mph that means one of three things. 1. The street you are on has blind or sharp turns. 2. The street you are on is in a residential area. 3. You are in a school zone. If people behind you are doing 70 they had better slow down so they don't hit you - if you feel that you are imminent danger pull over and let them pass. If you were to speed up in this scenario the damage to you would be far greater if an accident were to occur and as an added bonus it would be your fault, not the people behind you.

I'm not the best driver, but drivers like you don't belong on the road.

"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings
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