Texting Risk

The dangers of text-messaging while driving a vehicle, at work, even crossing the street are making the headlines both in the U.S. and overseas. A September 19, 2008 New York Times article by Jennifer Steinhauer and Laura M Holson, focuses on the danger texting can pose by distracting users. The issue has been receiving widespread attention following the September 12 train collision in California that left 25 dead. Last week the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) confirmed it is investigating how text messaging by the Metrolink train’s engineer may have affected his operation of the train.

Meanwhile, new research conducted by the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory for the Royal Automobile Club Foundation has found that texting behind the wheel impairs driving skills more than being drunk or high. Reaction times deteriorated by over one-third (35 percent). This was worse than alcohol at the legal limit (12 percent slower) and driving under the influence of cannabis (21 percent slower). In addition, drivers drifted out of their lane more often, with steering control 91 percent worse, compared to 35 percent worse when under the influence of cannabis. The ability to maintain a safe following distance also fell. Despite the danger, 48 percent of UK drivers aged 18-24 admit to using short message services (SMS) while driving. Check out I.I.I. information on auto crashes.

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