While there have been 21 fewer deaths from traffic accidents in southeast Missouri through October 27, 2011 as opposed to this time last year, car accidents still take lives and cause disabling injuries and create billions of dollars in medical bills and property damage nationwide each year. Accidents resulting from texting and driving account for nearly 25 percent of these accidents. So the results of the latest study on texting and driving should come as no surprise to residents of Poplar Bluff Missouri.
Latest Texting and Driving Study
Researchers at Texas A&M University's Transportation Institute just released the results of their latest study on the dangers of texting while driving. The results of numerous previous studies have already shown the dangers, but those studies were done in labs using driving simulators. The Texas A & M study actually put the rubber to the road.
Forty-two drivers, ranging in age from 16 to 54 years old, drove a car on a closed test track. They drove for a distance of 11 miles. During the testing phase researchers monitored how long each driver took to react to a flashing light while they drove normally and while they drove and attempted to text and read a text message on a mobile phone.
Texting Doubles Driver Reaction Time
On the average the test showed that a driver's reaction time is doubled. The normal reaction time, sans cell phone, was about one or two seconds. Add the cell phone and texting component and the driver's reaction time jumps to three or four seconds. But the really frightening part is that a driver texting or reading a text message is 11 times more likely to miss the flashing light all together.
Aside from reaction time and missing the flashing light, another great danger to driving was highlighted as well. While reading or texting, the distracted drivers had much more difficulty staying in their lane or maintaining a constant speed.
Keep in mind that this study was conducted on a closed course on a straight stretch of road, no curves, no intersections, no hills and no danger zones such as road construction or other hazards. The test was conducted at 30 mph with no other cars or hazards and there were still some near misses. Imagine the results if even one of these factors was added. And as we drive around under normal circumstances all of these hazards and more are present or possible all the time.
The Bottom Line for Texting and Driving
- Texting and reading texts are equally dangerous
- Double reaction time means only half as much time to react in order to avoid a car accident
- Missing the flashing light is the same as missing a red light or a pedestrian or other hazard
- More likely to swerve in lane or cross into someone else's lane
- Missing routine dangers can lead to car accidents and increase the severity
The full results of the study can be found in a 42-page report from the Texas Transportation Institute. Also available are safety tips: How to minimize distracted driving.
For more information about the consequences of car accidents and how to proceed if you have been involved in one involving texting and driving contact the Poplar Bluff Missouri car accident lawyers.