Jason R. Schultz
Yet another study, conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, has confirmed the multitude of dangers associated with our national obession of fiddling with electronic devices while we drive. The study specifically targeted texting. Drivers texting inside their vehicles showed that the risk sharply exceeded previous estimates based on laboratory research - and far surpassed the dangers of other driving distractions such as cell phone use. The new study, which entailed outfitting the cabs of long-haul trucks with video cameras over 18 months, found that when the drivers texted, their collision risk was 23 times greater than when not texting.
Even though the study dealth with large trucks and truckers that take longer to stop and are less maneuverable than cars, the findings apply to all drivers, who tend to exhibit the same behaviors as the more than 100 truckers studied. Truckers do not appear to text more or less than typical car drivers. Compared with other sources of driver distraction, "texting is in its own universe of risk," said Rich Hanowski, who oversaw the study at the institute.
Tom Dingus, director of the Virginia Tech institute, one of the world's largest vehicle safety research organizations, said the study's message was clear. "You should never do this," he said of texting while driving. "It should be illegal." Thirty-six (36) states still do no ban texting as it is a relatively new phenomenon.
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