Texting while driving doubles reaction time

US study highlights the dangers we're all too aware of

DRIVERS who text are more dangerous than previously thought, according to a new study by the Texas A&M University's Texas Transportation Institute.

"Essentially texting while driving doubles a driver's reaction time," Christine Yager, who led the study told Reuters.

For the study, 42 drivers between the ages of 16 and 54 drove on an 11-mile test track course while sending or receiving text messages, and drove it again while focusing completely on the road.

Drivers were asked to stop when they saw a flashing yellow light, and their reaction times were recorded, Yager said.

The typical time it took a driver who was not texting to respond to the flashing light was one to two seconds. But when the driver was texting, the reaction time extended to three to four seconds, and the texting motorist was 11 times more likely to miss the flashing light altogether.

Yager said the reaction time was the same whether the driver was typing a message or reading one.

"The act of reading and writing a text message are equally impairing and equally dangerous," she said.

Drivers who text are a common sight in the UK and they pose a huge risk to pedestrians and other road users, especially motorcyclists. It's time the police made it as anti-social as drink-driving.