Texting while driving increases crash risk 23-fold

Virginia Tech study of truck drivers recommends ban on texting while driving

Drivers of heavy trucks who were texting while driving were at a 23 times greater risk of a crash or near crash than those who were not, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute reported last night.

The findings of a series of studies (pdf format) released by the institute also showed that the risk to truck drivers was much higher from texting than from dialing a cell phone. The institute also found that talking or listening to a cell phone while driving a heavy truck caused no distraction.

For drivers of light trucks and cars, talking and listening slightly increased the risk of a crash or near crash, while dialing a cell phone was 2.8 times more likely to cause a crash. Texting distraction for car drivers was not reported in the institute's summary.

The findings are based on observing drivers in real-world road conditions using cameras and instruments installed in participants' vehicles. Overall, drivers were observed over 6 million miles of driving.

The cameras were used to make analyses of eye glance movements to assess where the drivers were looking. The tasks that drew the driver's eyes away from the forward roadway were judged to have the highest risk.

In light of the findings, the institute said texting should be banned in moving vehicles for all drivers, a step taken in 14 states and supported by some cell phone industry groups.

Similar to other recent studies conducted at the University of Utah involving driving simulators, Virginia Tech reported that using a headset cell phone is not substantially safer than a handheld because of the risks associated with answering, dialing and other tasks requiring a driver to take his eyes off the road.

The institute also suggested banning all cell phone use for newly licensed teen drivers, partly because they engage in cell phone tasks more frequently than adults. There are various laws in 23 states banning cell phone use for the youngest drivers. Teens in the Virginia Tech studies of cell phone use and texting while driving were four times more likely to get into a crash or near crash than adults.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags textingsmsmobile phonessmartphones

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?