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Distracted driving in general and texting while driving in particular are dangerous practices and the statistics prove it. According to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2009, approximately 5,500 people were killed and nearly 500,000 more injured in car accidents involving distracted drivers.

While it's understood that distractions, especially texting, divert drivers' attention from the actual act of driving, a new study by Texas A&M University's Texas Transportation Institute indicates just how dangerous the distraction of texting can be for drivers.

The study, which tested drivers' reaction times, indicates that texting (either composing or reading a text) doubles drivers' reaction time. The study determined that drivers' reaction time when not distracted by text messaging is about one or two seconds. However, when drivers engaged in texting, their reaction time slowed to three or four seconds.

The Texas Transportation Institute study is the first "real world" study to examine the effects of texting while driving; meaning it is the first study to use drivers in real vehicles as opposed to simulators. The study had drivers navigate a closed course, first without distraction and then while texting, and react to flashing lights. Along with the slowed reaction times, the study revealed that drivers who were texting were 11 times more likely to miss seeing the flashing light than non-distracted drivers.

In the real world, the study's flashing light could be a child darting out into the street or a car applying its brakes. The slowed reaction time or not seeing the lights or child could literally be the difference between life and death.

Speak with a knowledgeable attorney after being involved in an accident with a distracted driver. An attorney with experience handling personal injury cases can help you seek compensation for your injuries.

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