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Driver experience no safeguard against texting dangers

Study shows experienced drivers more likely to veer out of lane while texting

Distracted driving, especially texting while driving, is a serious safety issue that affects motorists and pedestrians throughout the country. The problem, however, has largely centered on young and inexperienced drivers, who are largely seen as being more prone to making driving mistakes if texting while behind the wheel. According to the Washington Post, however, a new study shows more experienced drivers may be much more dangerous on the road when it comes to texting and driving.

Experience and distractions

Researchers at Wayne State University conducted an experiment with 50 drivers aged 18 to 59 to determine how texting affected their driving abilities. The drivers were sent text messages while driving to see how their cellphone use behind the wheel affected their ability to stay in their lanes.

Surprisingly, 100 percent of 45- to 59-year-old drivers veered out of their lanes while texting. For those between the ages of 35 and 44, the rate was still alarmingly high at 80 percent. Younger drivers were significantly less likely to swerve out of their lanes, although the rates were still high at 40 and 25 percent for 25- to 34-year-old and 18- to 24-year-old drivers respectively.

Causes need to be studied

Researchers admitted that they were surprised by the results and say further research is required to determine why more experienced drivers may be worse at driving while texting. They speculated, however, that older drivers tend to look at a text message for longer than younger drivers do and that younger drivers, many of whom have grown up with cellphones, may simply be more proficient at texting, according to CBS News.

The study does, however, encourage the public and law enforcement agencies to remain vigilant against distracted driving regardless of the driver’s age. Currently, law enforcement agencies tend to focus on inexperienced drivers when cracking down on distracted driving, a strategy that may need to be reworked. Likewise, many experienced drivers may feel unduly overconfident about their driving abilities, thus leading them to text while behind the wheel. In 2012 alone, over 3,300 people were killed throughout the U.S. because of distracted driving, although officials fear the actual figure may be much higher because of the difficulty in determining the role cellphones often play in many accidents.

Legal help

Distracted driving is a danger that affects all drivers, regardless of age and experience. While some drivers may claim to be better at multitasking when behind the wheel, the truth is that any form of distracted driving is a hazard on North Carolina’s roads and highways.

Those who have been injured by a distracted driver should contact an experienced personal injury attorney. With dedicated legal advocacy, victims of distracted drivers will have the assistance they need to pursue any claim or compensation they may be entitled to.