Study: Texting While Driving As Dangerous as Drinking

Friday, 15 Mar 2013 11:40 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Texting while driving is as dangerous as drinking above the legal limit and then climbing behind the wheel, according to a new international study, which also found that using a hands-free phone increases the danger of accidents.

The study published in Traffic Injury Prevention journal compared the effects of using mobile devices while driving with the effects of drinking alcohol, according to a report Friday in The Telegraph.

Researchers from Australia and Spain found that hands-free phones are safe enough to use for simple discussions while driving, but deep conversations cause drivers to lose concentration even if their hands are on the wheel and they believe they have control of the vehicle.

The researchers stopped short of calling for mobile devices to be banned while driving, but they said more research should be conducted "to determine how they should be regulated."

The study, according to the Telegraph, was conducted using volunteer students who were licensed to drive. Tests to determine reaction times were done while driving under a variety of circumstances using texting and hands-free calling on one day and after drinking to reach three different legal limits on another day.

The results showed the road skills of the volunteers decreased equally whether the students were drinking or using their phones while driving.

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