Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sharon Montgomery reports on Texas texting-while-driving study

Sharon Montgomery writes:

The Texas Transportation Institute - Center for Transportation Safety recently reported their results of "An Investigation of the Effects of Reading & Writing Text-Based Messages While Driving." This study improved on previous, similar studies by putting subjects in instrumented vehicles on a straight, one-mile course instead of in driving simulators. The subjects ranged in age from 16 to 54, were pretty evenly divided between male and female and between users of touch-screen or raised-key devices. The Executive Summary states that, "Compared to the control condition, reading and writing text messages led to a significant delay in response time, an increase in the number of missed response events, an overall reduction in speed, an increase in the standard deviation of speed on the open roadway sections, an increase in the standard deviation of lane position on the open roadway sections, a reduction in writing and reading rates, and a reduction in the number of glances to the forward roadway." Also, "...the efficiency of both the texting and driving tasks are dramatically reduced."

AAA has educated their service truck drivers on this danger and many signed a pledge not to text while driving.

AAA's Home & Away magazine for Nov./Dec. asks victims and offenders of texting crashes to send their stories to Home & Away, 90 E. Wilson Bridge Rd., Worthington, OH 43085 or They will put as many stories as possible into future issues.

AAA clubs in a number of Ohio cities have put up billboards with 1-855-BAN-TEXT. AAA staff answer the calls and route them to the caller's state senator or to which allows the caller to e-mail his senator. They got 366 calls the first week.

Apple's new iPhone 4S is out now and allows texting by voice activation so drivers can go ahead and create dangerous mental distraction while still being legal in many of the cities or states that "ban" (in reality, create some restrictions on) texting while driving.

The research continues to mount, the advocacy continues to heat up, and technology continues to exacerbate the danger.

A toy "cell phone" package says ages 6 months and up. We introduce this obsession in infancy, model and promote it for 16 years, issue a driver's license, then expect drivers to exercise self-control and not take the obsession into the driver's seat. Amazing!


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Design and photograph is copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Bexley Public Radio Foundation. Text is copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Sharon Montgomery.

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