A new study from researchers at the University of Utah found that texting drivers were six times more likely to be involved in a car crash than those who do not text.
The researchers used vehicle simulators and identical traffic scenarios to assess risk and study the behavior of texting and non-texting drivers.
During the study, 20 pairs of self-described “experienced text messengers” (using their own cell phones) got in seven simulated collisions, with six occurring while the drivers were texting.
The participants, aged 19 to 23, were about 20 percent slower to react to brake lights and much more likely to drift into neighboring lanes if they texted while driving.
The researchers also found that texting was significantly more dangerous than simply speaking on a cell phone; talking on the phone while driving increases the likelihood of an accident by just four times, according to University of Utah researcher Frank Drews.
The scary thing here is teenage drivers are probably the most likely to text while driving, increasing their already high risk of getting into an accident.
That could drive up teenage car insurance rates, which are astronomical to begin with (why is car insurance so high for teenagers?).
Some U.S. Lawmakers have pushed for a nationwide ban of texting while driving, but it has yet gain widespread support.
Interestingly, a recent study found that texting was actually not the biggest distraction while driving.
There were 5,800 distracted driving deaths and 515,000 injuries in 2008, according to figures released by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.