A new study has shown that texting behind the wheel is even more hazardous that previously imagined.
The test — conducted by researchers at Texas A&M University’s Texas Transportation Institute — looked at 42 drivers, putting them on an 11-mile test track. The study used flashing lights to test drivers’ reaction times. During one “drive,” their reaction time was tested while sending and receiving texts. In another, drivers were told to concentrate completely on the road.
Drivers who were texting were shown to have a three to four second reaction time, while drivers who weren’t texting had only a one to two second reaction time.
“Essentially texting while driving doubles a driver’s reaction time,” said Christine Yager, who led the study. “That makes a driver less able to respond to sudden roadway dangers.”
It was also determined that texting drivers are 11 times more likely to miss seeing the flashing lights altogether.
“The act of reading and writing a text message are equally impairing and equally dangerous,” Yager told Reuters.
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