Like, OMG: Who’s the Worst At Texting and Driving?
You have been driving for over thirty years. You like to hold your perfect driving record over your family’s heads. Sure, you read or send a text once in a while as you are behind the wheel, but with your skill and experience, it’s not a big deal—certainly you’re more equipped to send a text from your car than your 17-year old daughter….right?
Wrong. In a recent study from the Accident Analysis and Prevention journal, researchers thought the same thing, but were shocked by the results of their work. Randall Commissaris, an associate professor at Wayne State University and leader of the study, assumed that newer drivers would be less skilled at sending texts safely behind the wheel (Accident Attorney’s Note: It’s never safe!), but what they found surprised everyone.
The Study and its Surprising Results
Researchers took a group of fifty people through a driving simulator to observe the driving skills of people ranging from 18 to 59 years old. Divided into two groups based on their texting abilities, each driver took the simulator through a standard drive as researchers sent them simple texts asking questions about simple subjects like their favorite color.
The results were astonishing. Expecting the least-experienced drivers to perform the worst, the youngest group (18-24) of skilled texters performed the best, with about 25% crossing lane demarcations while texting. Of all the groups, the worst performers were the older drivers in the “highly-skilled texter” group; 80% of the 35- to 44-year-old group started to veer into another lane while texting, and all (yes, 100%) of the 45- to 59-year-old group crossed into other lanes.
Never Text Behind the Wheel
As a car accident attorney, I see many cases where a driver was injured by another driver who was distracted, and it has certainly become an epidemic in our country. I like to look at this study not as a free pass for younger drivers, but as a cautionary tale for older drivers, who often are left out of the distracted driving conversation.
No matter your age, when you get behind the wheel, make a promise to yourself to remain focused on the task at hand, rather than the text at hand. A text can wait, but your safety can’t—keep our Houston roads safe by eliminating your distractions today!
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