The Risks of Texting and Driving
We have always been told and warned not to use phones while driving, recently though, there are further studies that even emphasize the gravity of the consequences of texting behind the wheel.
National Safety Council’s annual injury and fatality report says that compared the 2014 record, the usage of cellphones as cause of car accidents have modestly increased to 26%.
Contrary to the belief that most phone related accidents are due to texting while driving, studies show that it is only responsible for 5% of phone-related crashes. According to studies, though majority of car crashes are results of distraction due to talking on hands-free cellphones.
Texas A&M as supported by NSC conducted a research called “Voice-to-Text Driver Distraction Study” which yielded results warning drivers that talking while driving can be more distracting and dangerous than texting when operating behind the wheel. In addition, it states that even the use of talk-to-text applications does not contribute as a solution.
According to Texas A&M’s survey, manual texting requires a bit lesser time as compared to the voice-to-text method for most phone-related tasks. Despite this, however, it yields the same level of distraction and effect to driving performance.
Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T, four of the country’s big names in the cellphone industry, joined together in an effort to launch an advertising campaign called “It Can Wait” early in 2013. The ad warns phone users against the consequences of misusing their own handheld device.
Hands-free cellphone use has seemingly become a major cause of distraction for those behind the wheel. In studies published earlier in 2009, one of which a report in the Journal of Safety Research, it has been proven that the level of focus and driving performance while using hands-free phone was seldom found to yield better results than that of using handheld gadgets.
The NSC, in their full reports, rates and lists different duties in relation to the effect they have on a driver’s mental workload through using gathered data from a cognitive research. Driving and talking on a hands-free cellphone resulted to a 2.27 workload rating, which is not far from the 2.45 workload rating of driving and talking on a handheld phone. A rating of 3.06 workload was also found on the same scale when studied the usage of speech-to-text applications while driving.
NSC’s website reports that an estimated 245,358 phone-related car crashes happened so far this year. An increased reaction time is recorded as one of the effects cellphone usage, whether handheld or hands-free, has on drivers.
Last year’s NSC reports states that the rate of drivers handheld electronic gadgets operation while behind the wheel has increased to 1.3% in 2011 from the 0.9% the year before that.
At present, 12 states, together with D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and Puerto Rico have made usage of handheld devices while behind the wheel illegal, as reported by the Governors Highway Safety Association. Five among the 43 states that have prohibited texting while driving have strict implementation of their laws.
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