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Hum Factors. 2009 Aug;51(4):582-92.

The effects of text messaging on young drivers.

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Monash University Accident Research Centre, Melbourne, Australia.



This study investigated the effects of using a cell phone to retrieve and send text messages on the driving performance of young novice drivers.


Young drivers are particularly susceptible to driver distraction and have an increased risk of distraction-related crashes. Distractions from in-vehicle devices, particularly, those that require manual input, are known to cause decrements in driving performance.


Twenty young novice drivers used a cell phone to retrieve and send text messages while driving a simulator.


The amount of time that drivers spent not looking at the road when text messaging was up to approximately 400% greater than that recorded in baseline (notext-messaging) conditions. Furthermore, drivers' variability in lane position increased up to approximately 50%, and missed lane changes increased 140%. There was also an increase of up to approximately 150% in drivers' variability in following distances to lead vehicles.


Previous research has shown that the risk of crashing while dialing a handheld device, such as when text messaging and driving, is more than double that of conversing on a cell phone. The present study has identified the detrimental effects of text messaging on driving performance that may underlie such increased crash risk.


More effective road safety measures are needed to prevent and mitigate the adverse effects on driving performance of using cell phones to retrieve and send text messages.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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