High-Tech Study Details Dangers of Texting and Driving

Auto Accident

A sophisticated, hands-on study recently conducted by researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) provides additional evidence that texting, dialing or even reaching for a cell phone while driving can dramatically increase the risk of a car accident—particularly among young drivers.

Participants in the VTTI study included 42 newly licensed drivers between the ages of 16 and 17, as well as 109 adults with an average of 20 years of driving experience. Researchers outfitted participants’ cars with video cameras, global positioning systems, lane sensors and other devices to measure speed, acceleration and movement.

The younger drivers were seven times more likely to crash or nearly miss a collision when reaching for a cell phone or dialing; teen drivers’ risk of a crash increased four-fold when sending or receiving a text message. Adult drivers in the study were less likely to be engaged by distractions—including eating while driving or watching roadside objects—although older drivers’ risk of a wreck also increased when using a cell phone.

The study was conducted in conjunction with the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development, and the results were published in the Jan. 2 edition of The New England Journal of Medicine. For additional information on the research, please see the article “Virginia Tech researchers find novice teen drivers easily fall into distraction, accidents.”

The risks of texting while driving are a growing national concern, and other studies indicate the hazards of texting and driving are on par with drunk driving. Drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 represent only 6 percent of all drivers, but they account for 14 percent of crashes that result in injuries and 11 percent of traffic accident fatalities.

If you were injured or a family member was killed in an accident caused by a negligent driver, please contact PersonalInjury.com today for your free case consultation. Our network of personal injury attorneys welcomes clients nationwide.