Drunk drivers less dangerous than texters

Published: 18 September 2008

Drivers who write text messages at the wheel are more dangerous than those who drive while drunk or on drugs, according to research from the RAC Foundation.

The skills of 2000 motorists aged 18-24 were assessed on a Transport Research Laboratory simulator. The tests showed their reaction times fell by 35% when sending a text, compared to research into drink and drug drivers, whose reactions fell by 12% and 21% respectively.

Texting motorists were also more prone to drifting out of their lane, with steering control falling 91%, compared to a 35% fall for pot smokers. The ability to maintain a safe stopping distance also declined.

The RAC Foundation says more needs to be done to highlight the dangers of texting while driving. “No responsible motorist would drink and drive,” notes Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation.