Drivers using cell phones to send text messages are six times more likely to crash than those concentrating only on driving, according to a study in the journal Human Factors. Using a virtual driving simulator to analyze driving performance, researchers found texting drivers had less control over their vehicles.
Because texting requires drivers to completely switch attention away from driving, it appears even more dangerous than just talking. But talking on a cell phone isn’t without risk, either. Research shows talking on a cell phone while driving quadruples the chances of an accident.
While younger drivers are more likely than older ones to text behind the wheel, drivers of all ages are guilty of distracted driving. Inattention causes more than 1 million accidents yearly in North America.
Text messaging while driving is now banned for all drivers in 36 states and the District of Columbia. Another six states ban texting for younger or novice drivers. For information on cell phone laws by state, visit iihs.org/laws/cellphonelaws.aspx.
Set a good example by discussing and following these driver-safety practices:
Turn your cell phone off before you drive to avoid temptation.
Adjust seats, climate control, and sound and navigation systems prior to departure.
Pull off the road, away from traffic, to use a cell phone to talk, text, or surf the Internet.
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