Research: Texting while driving leads to six-fold increase in accidents

sending text messages while driving

Adding to the swelling evidence that texting while driving is dangerous, the most recent findings by the psychologists at University of Utah reveal that the likelihood of a collision increases nearly six-fold when people are engaged in sending text messages while driving.

Noting that texting is much worse than talking on the cell phone while driving, the recent study, published in the latest edition of the journal Human Factors, shows that the texting carries a 50 percent greater risk of accidents, vis-à-vis talking.

Elucidating the reason behind the increased crash risk associated with texting, the researchers said that while writing or reading text messages, the drivers need to “switch” all their attention away from the road; thereby throwing caution to winds!

The study’s lead author, Frank Drews, an associate professor of psychology, compared the talking and texting scenarios, saying: “If someone is talking on the phone, they are dividing attention between talking and driving. In text messaging, it is an all-or-nothing process. If you are texting, you are not paying attention to driving. You are basically driving blind.”

With the research noting that distracted driving results in nearly 6,000 fatalities per year, David Teater, senior director for transportation safety initiatives at the National Safety Council, said that, given the gravity of the situation, texting while driving should be banned in the country – currently 19 states, including Utah, have implemented such a texting ban.