Tuesday, December 22, 2009

DWT is more dangerous than DWI

A new study found that motorists who text while driving are six times more likely to be involved in a crash that those who just drive. University of Utah psychologists placed 20 men and 20 women between the ages of 19-23 in a driving simulator to test the effects of texting while driving. The tests indicated that motorists who texted while driving had reactions times 30% slower than those who just drove and that motorists who talked on their cell phone reacted 9% slower than non-talking drivers. Interestingly enough, reading text messages slowed braking times more than sending text messages.

An earlier study conducted in 2006 found that motorists who drove while talking on cell phones - either handheld or hands-free - were more likely to be involved in a rear-end collision than motorists who had an alcohol concentration of .08. Researchers believe that motorists talking on cell phones miss up to 50% of the visual cues that a non-talking driver sees.

None of this is to suggest that one get hosed and get behind the wheel of a car. The larger point seems to be that with every new device we put in a car we create more distraction for drivers. It is that distraction, whether caused by electronic devices or alcohol, that makes driving more hazardous.

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