The dangers of texting and driving are well-known in Kansas, where drivers are prohibited from using hand-held devices for text messaging, emailing, internet browsing or visiting social media "apps" while behind the wheel. Kansas law places special emphasis on curbing texting among teenage drivers, who can be pulled over if a police officer observes that teen manipulating his or her cell phone.
As an experienced accident attorney in Wichita knows, it is not safe for drivers of any age to pay more attention to their cell phones than the road ahead. However, a recent Wayne State University study found that texting and driving may become more dangerous as drivers become both older and more experienced.
Texting while driving a growing concern among aging drivers
According to the Detroit Free Press, researchers from Wayne State University's Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy recently studied the driving habits of texting drivers across a number of different age groups.
Motorists who demonstrated proficiency at one-handed texting, owned smartphones and claimed themselves to be "prolific" texters were selected to participate in the study, which used a driving simulator to measure the frequency of which distracted drivers drifted from one traffic lane to another.
The study found that texting while driving had a negative impact on drivers of all ages, with an average of 50 percent of all participants shifting between traffic lanes when engaging their cell phones. However, researchers also found that as the average age of the texting driver increased, so did the percentage of lane excursions demonstrated by that driver.
Almost 40 percent of participants between ages 25 and 34 drifted between lanes while driving, according to the study. As drivers age, this number skyrockets, with 80 percent of participants aged 35 and 44 and one hundred percent of participants between 45 and 59 years old drifting between lanes while texting.
Preventing texting accidents in Wichita
Researchers were surprised by the study's results due to the perception that more experienced drivers can safely manage distractions more effectively than younger drivers.
While researchers were unsure of why texting drivers shifted lanes more frequently as their age increased, officials from Wayne State University offered two possible explanations. According to one professor, it is possible that older drivers could be spending more time texting while behind the wheel than younger drivers.
Another explanation offered by researched suggests that older drivers may not spend more time looking at their phones while driving. Instead, they have difficulties with the cognitive demands of multitasking, thus becoming more distracted by text messages and other phone-based distractions as their age increases.
While the study's findings suggest that older drivers who text may be at highest risk of accident, texting while driving remains a highly dangerous activity for all ages. Kansas drivers both young and old should refrain from cell phone use while behind the wheel. Anyone injured or who loses a loved one in an accident caused by a texting driver should seek the advice of legal counsel as soon as possible.
Contact Warner Law Offices today at 866-584-1032 for a free case consultation with an experienced accident attorney in Wichita.