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5/5/2011 - Study: Texting increases risk for accident 23 times

Texting while driving can greatly increase one's risk for an accident.

Public service announcements and a new website have made it clear that texting and driving is a serious issue in America's roadways. But motorists may have never known just how serious an issue it is were it not for a Virginia Tech study.

In 2009, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute conducted an 18-month long study where truckers and light vehicle drivers were observed using their cellphones while driving.

Based on the amount of time it took for drivers to take their eyes off their cellphones and onto the road, the researchers were able to estimate how much more at risk people were for getting into accidents if they were texting or dialing up a phone number to talk to someone.

The study found that drivers increased their risk for a crash, or near-crash, by 23 times if they were texting as opposed to being undistracted.

Since then, the U.S Department of Transportation has developed a website dedicated to distracted driving prevention. Officials hope will lead to fewer accidents, which will help lower auto insurance rates and medical costs. 

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