Study shows texting on the move tops danger list for drivers aged 18-24.
Texting while at the wheel is more dangerous than driving after drinking or while high on drugs, according to new research conducted for the RAC. Despite this, almost half of young drivers aged under 24 admit to doing just this – and they’re a group already at much higher risk of being involved in a crash.
The RAC says that while safety campaigns have focused on the dangers of talking on hand-held mobile phones while driving, the dangers of sending messages are overlooked. The organisation has called for a high-profile education campaign to alert young drivers to the risks they face, and present to others, when they text on the move.
To reach its findings, the RAC commissioned the Transport Research Laboratory to carry out the first UK research into the effects of texting while driving. Using a driving simulator, TRL found that the reaction times of texting drivers were a third slower than normal.
All survey participants described themselves as confident texters. However, the results proved to be worse than for drivers at the legal limit for alcohol, or under the influence of cannabis. Drivers sending or reading messages drifted out of their lane far more often than the other groups did, while their ability to maintain a safe following distance from other vehicles deteriorated, too.
TRL’s experts concluded that texting drivers were more dangerous than drinking, or driving under the influence of drugs. It was also more risky than driving while chatting on a hand-held phone.
Despite these findings, the RAC is not calling for new laws. While a loophole in current legislation suggests that texting could be legal providing that the phone is in a cradle, a driver who hasn’t proper control of their car because they are distracted can collect a £60 fixed penalty plus three points on their licence.
If a driver is involved in a crash while texting, the Crown Prosecution Service has said that a charge of dangerous driving would be its starting point.
Note: pic above posed by model