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Study highlights danger of texting while driving

Posted On Tue, December 22, 2009

People have long known that texting while driving carries the risk of severe accidents, which can lead to higher auto insurance rates and legal penalties. However, a new study is providing further insight into just how dangerous it can be.

According to researchers at the University of Utah, people who text behind the wheel are six times more likely to end up in an auto accident than other drivers. The study was conducted with people aged 19 to 23 who were using driving simulators.

The likelihood of crashing was linked to a slower response time where simulated drivers failed to hit the brakes as quickly as their non-distracted counterparts. Those who were talking on cell phones were also found to have slower response times, but not to the extent as those were texting.

Other studies have also found that drivers engaged in distracting activities like texting and cell phone use are far more likely to end up being involved in accidents. The youngest drivers also happen to be more prone to using wireless communications devices while driving.

So far, a number of states have banned texting behind the wheel, with at least three having passed laws that will take effect on January 1. Groups like the AAA have called for a nationwide ban on the practice.

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