According to a recent study reported in Health Day News, texting while driving is not just a problem for young drivers. In fact, a recent study reported in Accident Analysis and Prevention, found that drivers aged 45 to 59 were more likely to drive into another lane or onto the shoulder of a road while engaging in this behavior. While this study does not address which age group is more likely to attempt texting while driving, it does suggest that the middle aged driver is more likely to lose control of their vehicle while texting than those in the youngest age group sampled.
Researchers at Wayne State University in Detroit called on 50 drivers ranging in age from 18-59 to take a simulated road test that measured the effect that texting had on their performance behind the wheel. During the 30 minute test, drivers had to maintain a speed of 50-60 miles per hour and text using one hand. Approximately 25 % of drivers in the 18-25 age range drifted into another lane with oncoming traffic as opposed to virtually 100 % of drivers in the 45-59 age range. Eighty percent of drivers aged 35-44 had what the researchers called, “lane excursions” in which they drifted into oncoming traffic while texting.
Research analysis suggests that the ability to multi-task behind the wheel declines with age. Younger drivers ranging in age from 18-25 were better able to handle the distraction of texting and seemed to perform better while multi-tasking. This does not suggest that texting is safer for younger drivers. While the study suggests that these drivers may be more proficient at handling technology and texting with one hand, they are still prone to serious injury from car accidents that can result from texting while driving. In fact, younger drivers are more prone to drive while texting, so even though they may be more proficient at this task, the number of young drivers engaging in this behavior is dangerous for all motorists on the road.
The authors of the study concluded that texting while driving remains a very serious and potentially fatal behavior. All drivers, despite their age, should not engage in texting while driving, for any reason. If a driver feels it necessary to answer or send a text message while driving, they should pull over to the side of the road, turn their ignition off, and complete their communication before they resume driving.
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