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Texting While Driving Still Isn't Safe: Study

Texting while driving is more dangerous than talking on a cell phone while driving, according to a recent study by University of Utah researches that gauged reaction times when motorists were sending and reading text messages.

The not-so-shocking revelation comes as cities and states across the country grapple with trying to enact laws that ban texting behind the wheel.

The study, called "Text Messaging During Simulated Driving," took the finger-wagging one step further by having 40 participants, 20 men and 20 women ranging in age from 19 to 23, use a virtual "high-fidelity" driving simulator to determine reaction times while texting on a cell phone.

The study uncovered that motorists who texted while driving were less likely to hit the brakes on time to avoid a crash, often followed other drivers too closely and suffered other delayed reaction times.

The study indicates that drivers who texted were six times more likely to be involved in a crash than those who were concentrating on driving.

Texting also proved to be more dangerous than talking on a cell phone, the study found, pointing out that drivers' attention patterns are different for each tasks. The study notes that drivers can more easily split their attention between a telephone conversation and driving, adjusting the priority of the two activities depending on the demands of each task. Texting, on the other hand, causes the driver's attention to be mostly on typing, sending or reading a message. Additionally, the study revealed that reading text messages was more distracting than writing and sending a text message.

The researches noted that all participants had experience with texting and just less than 5 years of driving experience on average.

The research first appeared in the journal Human Factors. The team of researchers, Frank A. Drews, Hina Yazdani, Celeste N. Godfrey, Joel M. Cooper and David L. Strayer, concluded that when compared to just concentrating on the road drivers' median reaction time increased by 9 percent while they were on a cell phone vs. 30 percent while texting, ultimately increasing their risk of a crash.

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