In a new study conducted by researchers at Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, the data again confirms the dangers of texting, dialing, or reaching for a cell phone while driving. The study is being touted as “sophisticated” and “real-world” because it utilized video cameras, global positioning systems (GPS), lane trackers, and other gadgets to track speed and acceleration. The sample group included 42 newly licensed drivers in the 16 to 17 year old range and 109 adults averaging 20 years of experience driving automobiles.
Not surprisingly, the test results showed that with the younger drivers, the risk of a crash or near-miss increased by more than 7 times if the person was dialing or reaching for a cell phone while driving. The data also showed that the risk of a crash or near-miss increased by approximately 4 times if the person was sending or receiving a text message. Additionally, the study noted that with the newly licensed drivers, engaging in distractions increased as time went on, but did not with the more experienced drivers.
The study was paid for jointly by the National Institutes of Health and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The full set of results was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine. While the data confirms the dangers of texting, dialing and reaching for a phone while driving, there are other researchers that feel that the risks are actually far more severe. David Strayer, with the University of Utah and a leading researcher on distracted driving, stated that the study’s methods and tools likely underestimated the risks of distracted driving because the video cameras used to catch “wandering eyes” cannot measure cognitive distraction. Indeed, according to Strayer, “You don’t swerve so much when you’re talking on a cell phone, you just might run through a red light.”
If you or someone you know has been injured or killed as a result of distracted driving, contact the attorneys at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-396-3964 or 800-594-4884.