Texting while driving - Copyright Wavebreak Media Ltd

Reaction Distance is Affected

A study done by Car and Driver Magazine found that driver reaction time was much slower when the driver was texting than when he or she was under the influence of alcohol.

Reaction time was triggered by a red light inside the car. The light alerted drivers when to brake.

A baseline was set by measuring reaction times at 35 mph and 70 mph. Then the reaction times was tested while drivers read a text message aloud. This was followed by a trial with the drivers typing the same message.

Each test was repeated five times, and the slowest reaction time (the time between the activated light and the driver hitting the brakes) was dropped.

The results:

  • Unimpaired: .54 seconds to brake
  • Legally drunk: add 4 feet
  • Reading e-mail: add 36 feet
  • Sending a text: add 70 feet


Massachusetts bans all texting and web browsing and prevents all cell phone use for teen drivers. But how aware are people about the law? And do they follow the law?

Plymouth Rock Assurance, a leading auto insurance company in Massachusetts and Connecticut, did a Distracted Driving Survey. The survey wanted to get an answer to the questions above.

The majority (80%) were aware of the law, meaning one out of five was not even aware of the law.

Nearly 40% (two out of five) did not follow the law. They still sent text messages while driving.

Going forward, one out of four said that the Safe Driving Law will have no effect on their day-to-day cell phone usage.

More from this survey: Women were more likely to have texted while driving than men, and drivers between the ages of 17 and 44 were more than twice as likely to have texted behind the wheel as drivers over the age of 45.

Sadly, too many people are still checking e-mail or sending a text while behind the wheel, even though it’s as dangerous as drinking and driving.