PostHeaderIcon Texting ‘greatest driving risk’

Texting while driving impairs motorists more than drinking alcohol or taking drugs, RAC Foundation testing suggests.

It asked motorists aged 17 to 24 to drive in a simulator while writing or reading texts and found reaction times deteriorated by 35% on average.

Previous studies had found reactions were 21% slower among those who had taken cannabis and 12% slower among those who had drunk to the legal limit.

The texters also drifted out of lanes more and had poorer steering control.

The overall driving performance was poor among those tested by the Transport Research Laboratory, which also carried out the previous studies, the RAC Foundation said.

Steering control among drivers in the text test was 91% worse, compared with 35% worse for those under the influence of cannabis.


Dr Nick Reed, senior human factors researcher at TRL, said: “When texting, drivers are distracted by taking their hand off the wheel to use their phone, by trying to read small text on the phone display and by thinking about how to write their message.

“This combination of factors resulted in the impairments to reaction time and vehicle control that place the driver at a greater risk than having consumed alcohol to the legal limit for driving.”

RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister said the participants in the study had been almost unanimous in their view that drink-driving was the most dangerous action on the road.

“Yet this research clearly shows that a motorist who is texting is significantly more impaired than a motorist at the legal limit for alcohol,” he said.

“No responsible motorist would drink and drive. We need to ensure that text devotees understand that texting is one of the most hazardous things that can be done while in charge of a motor car.”<p

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation

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