It seems like common sense that something which causes drivers’ attention to be taken off of driving would be considered dangerous, and a new study verified this thought. According to researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, their new study confirmed that texting, dialing, or reaching for a cellphone raised a driver’s crash risk.
This new real-world study, which involved lane trackers, video cameras, global positioning systems, and gadgets to measure acceleration and speed, revealed that drivers—especially newly licensed drivers—had a higher chance of a crash or near-miss when they were texting or reaching for a cellphone.
Researchers in this study looked at 109 adults with an average of 20 years behind the wheel and 42 newly licensed drivers around 16 to 17-years-old. Although common sense, what they found was shocking. The risk of crashing among newly licensed drivers didn’t just increase, but it jumped sevenfold if they were reaching for their cellphones or dialing. The risk of a crash or near-miss increased fourfold if young drivers were texting while driving. Additionally, their crash risk also spiked if they were reaching for something else in the car, looking at a roadside object, or eating and driving.
The results revealed that older drivers had an increased chance of a crash or near miss if they were dialing a cellphone. Surprisingly, the research indicated that talking on a phone while driving didn’t seem to be as dangerous as previous studies had indicated. However, dialing—the step that comes before talking—did prove to be dangerous across all ages.