The dangers of texting while driving


Attention Demands May Explain y Txtin While Drivin Is So Dangerous

Recent research appears 2 show dat wen speakin on a mobile fone drivers r beta able 2 prioritise der attention den wen txtin.

The researchers found drivers holding a phone conversation where better able to prioritize their attention, giving greater or less attention to the driving or conversation depending on traffic and road conditions than texters. Texting drivers had to switch their attention from one task to the other. This attention-switching occurred as drivers composed, read, or received a text, as a result their overall reaction times where found to be substantially slower than when they engaged in a phone conversation. The type of texting activity also appeared to make a difference; in this study, reading messages affected braking times more than did composing them.

To find why and how much driving safety is impaired during texting, the researchers engaged 20 men and 20 women between the ages of 19 and 23 in both a single task (straight driving) and a dual task (driving and texting) in a high-fidelity simulator. The participants, all experienced texters with an average of 4.75 years of driving experience, received and sent messages while the researchers observed their brake onset time, following distance, lane maintenance, and collisions.

Texting whilst driving is at best foolhardy and in the UK illegal – due to the increased risk of being involved in a car crash. One possible explanation is that drivers who text tend to decrease their minimum following distance and also experience delayed reaction time. For example, in the Drews et al. study, drivers' median reaction time increased by 30% when they were texting and by 9% when they talked on the phone, compared with their performance in a driving-only condition.

However too many drivers remain unconvinced that their driving performance is compromised when using a mobile whether it is to send and receive text messages or to make and receive phone calls.


Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (2009, December 22). Attention demands may explain why texting while driving is so dangerous. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 23, 2009, from­ /releases/2009/12/091222121949.htm