Research has indicated that cell phone usage increases the likelihood of collision four-fold. Though the exact percentage of the increased risk associated with collision and texting is unclear, the research is indisputable that the risk is present.
Hands Free is not the Answer
The risk factors associated with cell phone usage and driving have little to do with the physical interference that cell phones present such as holding the phone with one hand taken from the steering wheel. Most research indicates that the risk factors all involve the distraction from attention that cell phone usage presents and the fact the in many instances the driver does not ‘see’ something right in front of them.
Research indicates that texting while driving not only impairs the performance of younger adults, all drivers demonstrate a decreased response time to braking, higher likelihood to miss traffic signals, erratic speeds, and are more likely to have a rear-end collision.
In fact, texting and cell phone usage while driving has been shown to have similar profound effects to driving with a blood alcohol level at the legal limit.
Texting Similar to Driving while Intoxicated
Researchers at the University of Utah set out to compare and measure the driving performance of adults on the cell phone versus adults who were by legal standards intoxicated. (blood alcohol level of .08%)
Using a driving simulator the participants followed a pace car, some talking on the cell phone, some texting, while others were legally intoxicated. The results concluded that the distraction from cell phone usage while driving had very similar outcomes to the slower response times associated with driving while intoxicated.