Does Age Matter When Texting & Driving?
There’s no doubt that younger drivers are often associated with distracted driving-related incidents. For example, there have been numerous campaigns that geared towards teens and young adults in order to prevent texting and driving.
Distracted Driving In Teens and Young Adults
The issue is so prevalent that many of these campaigns exist in all forms of media; from radio and television advertisements to high school and college programs and seminars about the dangers of texting and driving.
However, one must also consider whether or not all of this flack geared towards teenagers is justified or if the problem exists in older drivers as well. In order to answer that question, research has been gathered in order to determine what kind of influence can be had in terms of driver age.
According to the journal, Accident Analysis & Prevention “distracted driving is a significant contributor to motor vehicle accidents and fatalities, and texting is a particularly significant form of driver distraction that continues to be on the rise.” While this holds true, and is showcased in both academic and governmental reports, the research also works to specifically address factors associated with driving age.
As mentioned previously, there is a school of thought that believes distracted driving, namely texting while driving is a problem that only occurs in the younger generation, but popular research will show that isn’t the case. Distracted driving, especially driving while texting, is a problem that occurs at all ages.
According to the research, drivers 18-59 years old were studied using texting during simulations. This worked by the research team sending out texts to participants while they “drove” during the simulations. Factors that were studied included:
• The overall percent of subjects that exhibited lane excursions.
• The number of lane excursions occurring.
• The percent of the texting time during lane excursions.
In terms of texting itself, researchers measured text task duration, texting skill level (which was subject reported), texting history (the number of texts sent per week), driver gender, and driver age. All of these factors were tested in order to understand if there was a specific correlation when it came to texting skill set, gender, age, and other factors that would determine the potential for texting and distracted driving related accidents.
What the research found, startlingly, was that the effects of texting while driving is marginally worse for older drivers than younger drivers, which is showcased in a slower reaction speed. In addition, the research also sound that age also correlated with the number of lane excursions that were seen overall. Essentially, the research works to show that older drivers not only engage in distracted driving, but given their age, these actions can also lead to a higher potential of accidents.
As the research points out, texting while driving is a problem within all age brackets and as such, it is essential to continue to increase anti-texting while driving campaigns, but these campaigns should also target older drivers in addition to younger ones. In doing so, it may be possible to curb this increasingly growing problem.
Parents lead by example and please don’t text and drive!