Driver performance while texting: Even a little is too much

McKeever, J.D., Schultheis, M.T., Padmanaban, V., and Blasco, A.
Taylor & Francis Group

This simulator study examined the driving ability of participants who sent text messages while driving. A total of 28 participants were involved in the study and their age ranged from 18 to 28 years. Participants used the simulator to drive normally through a realistic virtual environment with simple and naturalistic road conditions. Once this task was completed, they drove the same loop, however, during three points of time throughout the drive, they were required to tune the radio, type and send a text message that said, “Drexel University,” and type and send “I am driving to the store.” Results revealed that the performance of these distracting tasks affected the lane maintenance, speed maintenance, and shifts of attention of the driver. The texting tasks took almost two times longer to complete than tuning the radio. It was concluded that engaging in secondary tasks while operating a motor vehicle may have harmful effects on driving performance and increase risk, even under the simplest of driving conditions.

Researchers suggested that, based on the results of this study, further research was needed to understand what factors contribute to the extended duration of distracted driving during dual tasks.

McKeever, J. D., Schultheis, M. T., Padmanaban, V., & Blasco, A. (2013). Driver performance while texting: even a little is too much. Traffic Injury Prevention, 14(2), 132-137.