SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Driving while texting appears to be substantially riskier than driving while talking on a cellphone, a University of Utah study finds.
Researchers studied the reactions of 40 people using a driving simulator, Information Week reported, comparing reaction times and other driver behavior while they were talking on the phone and texting. They found texting was up to six times as dangerous, with drivers more likely to follow other vehicles too closely and to fail to react quickly enough to avoid crashes.
Drivers who are texting are switching attention not just between two activities but between the different activities -- writing texts and reading them -- involved in texting and well as driving, researchers said. Texting also appears to require more concentration than talking on the phone.
Other studies have suggested talking on a cellphone is as dangerous as being legally drunk and that using a hands-free phone makes little difference.