Most driving awareness campaigns about texting while driving tend to be aimed toward newer, younger drivers. The point of these campaigns is to make young drivers aware of the potential consequences of texting and driving. But does experience make a difference when it comes to texting and driving? How do more experienced drivers fare if they text while they’re driving?
Not very well, according to a new study from Wayne State University. The study involved a group of 50 participants ranging in ages from 18 to 59. The participants were divided into two groups. In one group were those who said they couldn’t text very well, while those who were highly skilled at texting – people who said they owned smartphones, texted a lot, and could do so one-handed – were in the second group.
The researchers sent texts to participants while they were driving using a driving simulator. The messages asked simple questions, such as what the participants’ favorite color was. The results surprised the researchers, who had expected that the more mature, experienced drivers would be able to handle the distraction of texting while driving better than younger, more inexperienced drivers.
While half of those in the highly skilled texting group veered into other lanes while they read or replied to texts, age did make a difference – and not in the way expected. A hundred percent of the highly skilled texting drivers between ages 45 to 59 veered into other lanes, while 80 percent of the skilled texters aged 35 to 44 did so. Younger drivers in the highly skilled texting group actually did better in comparison, with 40 percent of 25 to 34 year olds veering into other lanes and 25 percent of those aged 18 to 24 doing so.
The results of this study do not mean younger drivers who are skilled at texting can handle the distractions of texting while driving. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report shows that young drivers report more crashes while using cell phones. But older, more experienced drivers who might think their experience translates into an advantage when it comes to distracted driving should think again. As the study results indicate, the more experienced driver may actually be worse at handling the distraction of texting while driving.
Whether you’re a seasoned driver or not, you should always remember that texting can be a powerful distraction while driving, a distraction that can, and often does, have disastrous, tragic consequences.
If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of an accident involving a distracted driver, Bradley I. Kramer and his experienced legal team are here to help you obtain the compensation to which you are entitled. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.