Report: Texting Makes You 6x More Likely to Crash a Car

Dennis Faas's picture

Think you can multitask while driving? Think again. According to a recent report, drivers who use their cell phones to text while behind the wheel are six times more likely to crash their rides.

"When people talk on the phone while driving they are four times more likely to get into an accident," says University of Utah psychologist Frank Drews. And thanks to Drews' last study, we now know texting behind the wheel means you're actually six times more likely to crash. (Source:

Studies Push Legislators to Act

Talking on your cell phone while operating a vehicle has become illegal in several cities, states and provinces, but not in all -- a circumstance that has prompted several studies investigating the effect chatting or "texting" (instant messaging) has on driving.

In this most recent study, researchers used 20 young adults of both sexes between the ages of 19 and 23 in a driving simulator and found predictable results: those who texted on a cell phone behind the wheel saw the gap between their car and one in front of them shrink much faster while the reaction time of the driver slowed significantly.

In other words, if you're texting on a cell phone while driving, you're less likely to react in time if the car in front of you slams on its brakes.

Just how much more likely is a texting driver to rear-end that car in front of them? Six times more, says the study. Researchers found that it took drivers 9 per cent longer to react while talking on a cell, 30 per cent when texting.

Talking, Texting Incompatible with Driving Demands

The problem is, says associate professor of psychology Frank Drews, that most people can't perform the two complicated activities at the same time -- it's just too much for most of our brains' to handle. Talking is difficult, but texting more so because it forces the driver to switch all of their attention from the road to the communicating task at hand. (Source:

Surprisingly, researchers also found that reading a text was more distracting than writing one -- perhaps because one has to read their colleague's sometimes garbled spelling and grammar, a bad side effect with the practice.

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