Monday, August 24, 2009

New Data from VTTI Provides Insight into Texting and Cell Phone Use and Driving Distraction

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute recently published another study concerning trucking and transit crashes and texting from a cell phone. The following findings are presented for your considering. The published text may be found and reviewed at

The study concluded as follows:

Eye glance analyses were conducted to assess where drivers were looking while involved in a safety critical event and performing cell phone tasks. The tasks that draw the driver’s eyes away from the forward roadway were those with the highest risk.

Several recent high visibility trucking and transit crashes have been directly linked to texting from a cell phone. VTTI’s research showed that text messaging, which had the highest risk of over 20 times worse than driving while not using a phone, also had the longest duration of eyes off road time (4.6 seconds over a 6 second interval). This equates to a driver traveling the length of a football field at 55 mph without looking at the roadway.

VTTI’s recommendations (based on findings from research studies)

Driving is a visual task and non‐driving activities that draw the driver’s eyes away from the roadway, such as texting and dialing, should always be avoided.

Texting should be banned in moving vehicles for all drivers. As shown in the table, this cell phone task has the potential to create a true crash epidemic if texting‐type tasks continue to grow in popularity and the generation of frequent text message senders reach driving age in large numbers.

“Headset” cell phone use is not substantially safer than “hand‐held” use because the primary risk is associated with both tasks is answering, dialing, and other tasks that require your eyes to be off the road. In contrast, “true hands‐free” phone use, such as voice activated systems, are less risky if they are designed well enough so the driver does not have to take their eyes off the road often or for long periods.

All cell phone use should be banned for newly licensed teen drivers. Our research has shown that teens tend to engage in cell phone tasks much more frequently, and in much more risky situations, than adults. Thus, our studies indicate that teens are four times more likely to get into a related crash or near crash event than their adult counterparts.


For additional information contact:

Alan L. Morton
1005 North Eighth Street
Post Office Box 420
Boise, ID 83701-0420
Telephone: 208.344.5555
Toll Free: 866.946.1669 (866.WIN.1.NOW)
Facsimile: 208.342.2509

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