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Texting and driving

The danger of text messaging

The results of NRMA research provides evidence that retrieving and, in particular, sending text messages has a detrimental effect on a number of safety-critical driving measures.

In particular, when text messaging, drivers' ability to maintain lateral position and to detect and respond appropriately to traffic signs is negatively affected. In addition, when text messaging, drivers spent up to 400 per cent more time with their eyes off the road than they did when not text messaging.

Drivers did not reduce their speed while distracted

Moreover, while there was some evidence that drivers attempted to compensate for being distracted by increasing their following distance, drivers did not reduce their speed while distracted, which could increase their risk of being involved in a crash because it increases the stopping distance required to avoid a collision.

Despite these degradations in driving performance and legislation banning the use of hand-held phones while driving, a large proportion of the drivers examined reported that they regularly use hand-held phones while driving for talking and text messaging.

These findings highlight the need for mobile phone safety campaigns to target the young driver population in particular, in order to minimise the use of these devices among this population. 

Read the paper on the effects of text messaging on young novice driver performance. (PDF 195KB/21 pages)

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