Indiana’s new law banning texting while driving for motorists is based on the high accident risks involving such practices. However, those accident risks may be much more dangerous than Indiana personal injury lawyers have known. A new study finds that a motorist’s reaction times may be much higher when he’s texting while driving, than early studies have shown.
According to the study by the Texas Transportation Institute, a person’s reaction time is between 3 and 4 seconds if he is texting while driving. When the same person is not texting while driving, his reaction time is between 1 and 2 seconds. That is a serious disparity, and indicates an almost 100% increase in reaction times. In the real world on a busy roadway, those delayed reaction times could prove deadly. A car traveling at 55 mph could travel the length of a football field in that period of time.
Previous studies by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute have also found that texting while driving is the single most dangerous distracted driving behavior, increasing a driver’s reaction time more than any other kind of distracted behavior. With more than 5,500 people killed in 2009, distracted driving is the 21st century’s version of intoxicated driving.
Part of the problem in minimizing driver distractions is widespread public acceptance of such practices. According to another study, as many as 90% of drivers know that texting while driving is a destructive practice, but 35% of them have used a text messaging device while driving in the previous month. 80% of drivers believe that using a cell phone places them at a high risk of an accident, but that didn’t stop 67% from using a cell phone while driving in the past month.
Motorists need to put into practice behaviors based on what they know about texting while driving if we are to reduce its dangers.