Texting, dialing while driving raises crash risk

by Rachel Baker on January 2, 2014

There’s a new study coming out that is one of the most sophisticated thus far done on the results of texting and dialing while driving.

For the new study, researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute installed video cameras, global positioning systems, lane trackers, gadgets to measure speed and acceleration, and other sensors in the cars of 42 newly licensed drivers 16 or 17 years old, and 109 adults with an average of 20 years behind the wheel.

The risk of a crash or near-miss among young drivers increased more than sevenfold if they were dialing or reaching for a cellphone and fourfold if they were sending or receiving a text message. The risk also rose if they were reaching for something other than a phone, looking at a roadside object or eating.

Among older drivers, only dialing a cellphone increased the chances of a crash or near miss. However, that study began before texting became more common, so researchers don’t know if it is as dangerous for them as it is for teens.

Engaging in distractions increased as time went on among novice drivers but not among experienced ones.

The National Institutes of Health and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration paid for the research. Results are in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine.

Check out the remainder of the article here:
http://bigstory.ap.org/article/texting-dialing-while-driving-raises-crash-risk

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