Texting while driving increased truckers' risk of collision 23-fold, according to new U.S. research.
The analysis of images recorded by video cameras in the cabs of more than 100 long-haul truckers over 18 months also revealed that in the moments before a crash or near-crash, drivers spent about five seconds looking at their texting devices, the New York Times reported. At highway speeds, a vehicle travels more than the length of a football field in five seconds.
In terms of driver distraction, not just in trucks, "texting is in its own universe of risk," Rich Hanowski, who oversaw the study, told the Times.
The findings, released Tuesday, deliver a clear message about texting while driving, said Tom Dingus, director of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, which did the research. "You should never do this," he told the newspaper. "It should be illegal."
Currently, only 14 states ban texting while driving.
In a related study, University of Utah researchers found that college students using a driving simulator were eight times more likely to crash when texting, the Times reported.