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Jim Liebelt Christian Blog and Commentary

Study: Risk of Crash While Texting Is 23 Times Higher

  • Jim Liebelt
    Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim has over 25 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, and has been on the HomeWord staff since 1998. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, youth ministry trainer, adjunct college instructor and speaker. Jim’s culture blog and parenting articles appear on Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Jim and his wife Jenny live in Olympia, WA.
  • 2009 Jul 28
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More new research is being released on the dangers of using cell phones while driving. This new study recommends banning cell phone use by teen drivers.

Newly compiled results from more than six million miles of observed driving suggest that it's the act of taking one's eyes off the road, more than the cognitive distraction of talking or listening on the phone, that's most dangerous.

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study included data—all gathered 'naturalistically,' meaning via camera systems and instruments in real-world driving—for dialing a cellphone, talking/listening to a cellphone, and reaching for an object. That data was also gathered for both light-vehicle drivers and truck drivers, where text messaging was included.

According to the findings, dialing was 2.8 times as risky as non-distracted driving, while talking/listening and reaching for an object were 1.3 and 1.4 times as risky, respectively. The real shocker was text messaging; for the truck drivers, texting brought 23.2 times the risk of a crash or near-crash event. The research showed that text messaging brought the driver's eyes away from the road for the longest time of all the tasks; for the trucker, it was the equivalent of covering the length of a football field at 55 mph without looking at the road, the researchers said.

Among the recommendations from the VTTI researchers are that texting should be banned for all drivers; that users migrate to voice-activated hands-free systems to that they don't have to take their eyes off the road; and that all cellphone use should be banned for teen drivers.