Drivers React Twice as Slowly When Texting

Distracted driving can include many things, such as driving while using a cellphone, eating, putting on makeup, or even just talking; and any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road is dangerous. In fact, in 2009, one out of five injuries from car wrecks involved distracted driving. Distracted driving played a part in around 5,500 fatalities in that same year.

A recent survey of 24 drivers between the ages of 16 and 54 by the Texas Transportation Institute revealed that texting while driving may be even more dangerous than originally believed. The study found that reaction time slowed for drivers who texted, going from one or two seconds for drivers who were not engaged in texting, to three or four seconds for those who were. This is more than previously thought, the study noted.

Importantly, no major difference in reaction time was noted between people who were sending outgoing text messages and those who were reading incoming messages. That means even just glancing down to check an incoming text or email slows a driver's reaction time by as much as 100 percent - incredibly valuable time when a car ahead stops or a child runs into the street.

The study comes amid a rise in traffic deaths caused by distracted driving. In 2008, 16 percent of all traffic deaths could be attributed to distracted driving, research by the University of North Texas Health Science Center found.

Ironically, a different study by AAA revealed that while almost all drivers believe that texting while driving is dangerous, about 33 percent of drivers admit to texting while driving. Studies have shown that a majority of drivers believe that texting while driving should be illegal. Currently 34 states and Washington, D.C. ban texting while driving for all drivers.

If you or a loved one was injured in an accident involving a distracted driver, contact a personal injury lawyer. You may be able to get help for expenses caused by the distracted driver's negligence.