Texting And Driving: What The Research Shows

May 24, 2023 | Driving Safety

The advances in smart technology in recent years have made it easier than ever to communicate with friends, work remotely, monitor the news or social media, shop online — and get into a car wreck.  Distracted driving has become a serious hazard on the road; some researchers say it now plays a role in more than twenty percent of all crashes.

Any number of ill-advised behaviors can produce distractions while driving, including eating, smoking, or fiddling with climate controls. But the most common culprit is usually a cell phone. Texting while driving is considered particularly dangerous because it takes the driver’s eyes off the road for precious seconds and slows reaction time. Some studies have suggested that a texting driver can be just as hazardous as a drunk driver — or even worse.

Research on how texting affects reaction time has been piling up in recent years. A pioneering study by the Texas Transportation Institute determined that a driver’s reaction time is doubled when that driver is distracted by reading or sending a text message. Subjects of the study first used their smart phone in a laboratory study to read and answer questions, then repeated the tasks while navigating a test-track course, where their reaction time to a periodic flashing light was noted.

Reaction time to the flashing light increased from 1-2 seconds to 3-4 seconds. That may not seem like much of a problem, but every second counts. Imagine driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed; that’s how much distance a highway driver can cover in 4.6 seconds while trying to text. Worse yet, drivers were 11 times more likely to miss the flashing light entirely when they were texting.

That study also found that texting drivers were less able to maintain a constant speed or stay in their lane, even on a straight-line course. Other studies indicate that using voice-to-text apps, instead of manually entering text, isn’t any safer; the act of texting simply commands too much of a person’s attention to be attempted while driving.

In spite of such data, the problem continues to get worse. It’s alarming to discover that at least 20 percent of all drivers admit to having texted while operating a motor vehicle, and that at any given time roughly ten percent of the people on the road are on their cell phone (either texting or conversing) at the same time! Short of a massive intervention, the only solution for safety-conscious drivers is to keep their cell phones turned off while driving, steer clear of others who appear to be distracted and driving erratically, and follow these other tips from the Colorado Department of Transportation for  fighting distracted driving.


For more than thirty years the attorneys at Franklin D. Azar & Associates have helped thousands of injured people obtain complete and timely compensation for their losses. Our proven track record and expertise have allowed us to grow into the largest personal-injury law firm in Colorado, with offices in Denver, Aurora, Thornton, Fort Collins, Greeley, Grand Junction, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo. If you’ve been injured in a bus, car, truck, bicycle, or motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation.  Please call the car accident attorneys at FDAzar day or night at 720-372-1162, or contact us here for a free consultation and no-obligation evaluation of your case.