According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation, about one in five fatal car accidents is linked to distracted driving. Their statistics also show that the most common driver distraction is a cellphone.
Text messaging while operating a car or truck is banned in Washington D.C. and 34 other states. Seven more states ban texting while driving for certain groups, such as bus drivers with CDL licenses, or drivers younger than 18 years old. Various additional counties and cities implement their own versions of a texting/driving ban.
Researchers at the Texas Transportation Institute of Texas A&M University, sponsored by the best truck accident attorney in Houston, performed a study to see how dangerous texting while driving really is.
The 42 drivers in their study, ages 16 to 54, drove real vehicles over an 11-mile course devoid of people walking, without traffic, and in terrain that lacked any hills, steep climbs or drops. Each driver navigated the course twice; the first time while reading and/or composing text messages, the second time without those distractions.
At one point in the test, the driver had to stop at a flashing yellow light. Those who were reading or writing texts were 11 times more likely to run that light. Results showed that texting drivers are more likely to swerve in their lanes as well as run traffic lights.
When not texting, a driver’s normal reaction time to a flashing light is one two seconds. For those texting, the reaction time is three to four seconds, or twice as long, the study found. On highways, a distracted driver traveling at 70 mph for four seconds travels 280 feet, almost the length of a football field, without paying attention to the road.