Research links heightened risk of wrecks to texting drivers

It should go without saying that those who text while driving place themselves and other motorists at greater risk of an auto accident. However, some drivers believe that the effect this dangerous distraction has on their driving is negligible.

Their perception is not rooted in reality. Drivers who text behind the wheel have over a 50 percent risk of wrecking than those who simply converse on their cellphones while driving.

According to a 2009 research study involving inexperienced younger drivers on a simulated course, both sending and reading text messages caused the participants to take their eyes and attention away from the highway. Some test subjects looked at the road nearly 400 percent less than those who weren’t trying to multitask. Other dangers included a 50 percent increase in lane switches and 140 percent greater chance of missing an intended lane change.

Research showed that driving while texting increases the response time to brake lights ahead of them. Those drivers also have less control laterally and forward than those who didn’t attempt to text. Overall, those who sent and received texts while driving had more accidents than those who didn’t.

Even our president is concerned about the dangers inherent in texting and driving. The Office of Public Affairs recently released this statement:

“President Obama signed an Executive Order directing federal employees not to . . . text . . . while driving government-owned vehicles; when using electronic equipment supplied by the government while driving; or while driving privately owned vehicles . . . on official government business.”

Despite the increased awareness of the dangers, the practice is still quite prevalent. Those injured by texting drivers and the survivors of those who are killed can find themselves mired in debt from medical and funeral costs. Seeking a civil remedy may be an option to consider.

Source: Psychcentral.com, “The Dangers of Texting While Driving,” Jamie Hale, accessed April. 08, 2015