Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Anti-Texting Law Goes in Effect 7-1-09

Dangers of Texting When Operating Motor Vehicles

The practice of sending text messages while operating motor vehicles has been proven to be more hazardous than driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs according to research conducted in London on 17-24 year olds.

Studies have shown that when texting, reaction time while driving was slowed by 35% when participants were writing or reading text messages.

This is in comparison to tests that showed reaction time deteriorated by 21% for persons under the influence of cannabis and 12% while intoxicated at the legal limit.
Steering Control was worsened by 91% while texting as compared to being under the influence of cannabis.

Tests showed that drivers were less apt to maintain a safe driving distance and drifted out of their respective lanes more frequently.

This information may finally confirm the anecdotal evidence that prudent drivers observe on a daily basis. While nearly half of Britain’s 18-24 year olds report they text while driving it is not sure how many in the US behave similarly.

Conclusion: Motorists who text while driving are significantly more impaired and apt to contribute to an accident than motorists intoxicated with alcohol. It is not sure how those two actions might contribute to the operators ability to drive but it certainly would be unsafe.

This is a good example of combination risk factors – taking hands off the steering wheel, using a device while driving (phone), taking eyes off the road, concentrating on something other than operating the motor vehicle – (e.g. composing the message). These combined all contribute to creating poor reaction time and impaired operator control worse than that of an alcohol impaired driver thus placing operators at much greater risk of an accident.

Solution: Don’t text or use your phone while driving – certainly don’t use the phone or text if impaired by alcohol or drugs and illegally operating a motor vehicle or machinery.

The study was conducted by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) .

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