Recently released findings show that calling or texting while driving may be significantly more dangerous than previously assumed. The studies found that drivers making a phone call were four times more likely to crash and that texting was twice as riskly than just talking on the phone.
According to Professor David Strayer from the University of Utah, the risks are especially great for teens, up to 50 percent of whom say admit to texting while driving.
The studies also showed that the risks associated with listening to the radio or talking to a passanger in the car were comparitively low.
In this video, NewsHour correspondent Ray Suarez talks to David Strayer from University of Utah about the new findings and the risks associated with other distractions while driving.
"Teen drivers, for example, tend to be at risk for trying to multitask. They're just learning how to drive, so some of the things that a more experienced driver might have automated or become habitual are still quite effortful for a teen driver, so, unfortunately, for the teens who are probably just learning to drive, and they're also probably the most likely to be multitasking, either using a cell phone, or an iPod, or text messaging." - David Strayer, University of Utah professor
"A lot of the impairments associated with using a cell phone come from speech production, the actual generation of speech. And if you're just passively listening to conversations or the radio, it seems not to produce the kind of impairments that you'd see if you were actually engaged in a conversation on the phone." - David Strayer, University of Utah professor
"One of the things I think is likely to happen is, with text messaging and the impairments that we see, it's likely to raise the dialogue and the discourse about what we should do with driver distraction, because it's becoming a greater and greater problem." - David Strayer, University of Utah professor
1. Do you drive? What kinds of distractions might affect the way that you drive?
2. Do you know people who use their cell phone or text while driving? What do you think about that?
1. Did the information in this video surprise you? Did you know that driving while using a cell phone could be so dangerous?
2. Professor Strayer notes the risks of texting in the car are about as great as driving while intoxicated. Why do you think that is?
3. Some local governments are banning the use of cell phones while driving. Do you you agree that texting and talking on the phone should be banned? If the risks can be as high as driving while intoxicated, what should the penalties be?