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New Study Shows Texting and Driving Dangerous for Massachusetts Drivers

Texting and driving may be even more dangerous than many of us assumed. A new study from Texas A&M University reports that the reaction times of drivers who are texting are two times that of non-distracted drivers. Given that accidents can occur in the blink of an eye, the slower reaction time attributed to texting can lead to car accidents.

The study brought together 42 drivers of varying ages who were observed twice – once while sending and receiving text messages and once with their full concentration on the road. While texting, the group took one to two extra seconds to stop for a flashing light and were 11 times more likely to run the light. This study is different than many other studies since it used real drivers and real cars instead of simulators.

How Prevalent is Texting While Driving?

The Federal Communications Commission reports that in 2008 approximately 5,800 people were killed and 515,000 people were injured because of driver distraction. Drivers who are texting are up to 23 times more likely to be involved in a collision.

In four seconds a person driving at 55 mph will drive approximately the length of a football field. Coincidentally, four seconds is the average amount of time drivers look away from the road while texting. Drivers who are texting also have difficulties staying in their lanes and may miss stop lights, stop signs, exits and other visual cues.

Fifty-percent of teens admit to texting while driving. Teens are particularly vulnerable to texting and driving because they are inexperienced drivers and texting is one of their main forms of communication.

What Can We Do About It?

One district attorney in Massachusetts is trying to remedy this problem by implementing a distracted driving program in local schools. The program urges students to turn off their phones while driving and urges parents to take their teens’ phones away from them if they see them texting and driving.

The injuries and deaths caused by texting and driving are easily preventable. Be a role model for your teens and talk with them about the dangers of texting and driving. With everyone’s help we can stop this dangerous habit. Unfortunately though, accidents still happen, so if you or a loved has been injured by a distracted driver please consider contacting a personal injury attorney who can help you recover your losses.