Study: Texting while driving doubles reaction time

October 5, 2011 12:00 AM

For several years now, safety officials have warned about the dangers of texting and driving. However, a new study has revealed that the practice can be even more detrimental than originally thought.

The study, undertaken by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), put drivers from age 16 to 54 on a testing track, reports the Washington Post. The course was designed to measure reaction times by providing obstacles for the drivers to respond to.

"Our findings suggest that response times are even slower than what we originally thought," said Christine Yager, a TTI researcher, who managed the study. "Texting while driving basically doubles a driver’s reaction time and makes the driver less able to respond to sudden roadway dangers, if a vehicle were to make a sudden stop in front of them or if a child was to run across the road."

Those who weren't texting had a reaction time that averaged between one to two seconds. Those that were looking at their phone took between three to four seconds to react. There was no significant difference between composing a text or reading one. On average, a vehicle going 60 miles per hour traveled 440 feet - over the length of a football field - while a driver was preoccupied with the phone.

Human behavior is one aspect of vehicle safety, but careful car maintenance is another. Be sure to take your car in for regular brake service to ensure that when you do need to stop quickly, you can. 

Back to news