Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Middle-Aged Worse at Texting-While-Driving, Study Shows


But, experts stress that distracted driving is dangerous at any age

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WebMD News from HealthDay

By Alan Mozes

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Dec. 30, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The risky mix of texting and driving may be more problematic for middle-aged drivers than it is for younger drivers, according to new research.

However, that doesn't mean texting and driving is OK for any age group, the study authors stressed.

"First and foremost we don't want to misrepresent this in any way that promotes texting and driving among young drivers," said study co-author Randall Commissaris, an associate professor in the department of pharmaceutical sciences at Wayne State University in Detroit. "But today more and more older people are texting, not just teens and those in their 20s and 30s. And a lot of these older people are doing it while driving," he added.

"So we systematically road-tested a range of drivers, from age 18 to 59," Commissaris explained. "And we found that while about 25 percent of the youngest drivers would go into an oncoming lane or onto the shoulder while texting, it was virtually 100 percent among the oldest drivers."

Results of the study are published in the January issue of Accident Analysis and Prevention.

To explore how texting affected drivers of different ages, the researchers ran 50 men and women through a series of computerized road tests.

Texting ability varied, according to the study. Seven described their texting ability as limited -- meaning they had to search for the keys and typed with one finger. Sixteen said their texting skills were good, though they described using two hands to text. Twenty-seven volunteers were in the "skilled" texter category, meaning they're able to handle sending texts with one hand, according to the study.

The researchers divided the volunteers into four age categories: 18 to 24; 25 to 34; 35 to 44; and 45 to 59. To test their driving skills, they were asked to "drive" a four-door fully outfitted driving simulator that created a virtual, but realistic, roadway experience. The driving simulator mimicked driving on a two-lane country road. There were no stop signs or stop lights. And, there were no oncoming cars in the opposite lane, the study reported.

source : Middle-Aged Worse at Texting-While-Driving, Study Shows

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