Most see texting and driving as a heinous offense akin to getting behind the wheel drunk or eating messy foods while driving. However, new research from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has shone a fresh light to challenge this commonly accepted belief.
In a study conducted by the UNL psychology department, findings suggested that most people can fire off a quick text at the wheel and be totally fine. Roughly 90% of drivers could safely read a text and then send one in response without getting into a catastrophic accident.
“Sure you shouldn’t text and drive all the time,” explained Dr. Kate McKenna, the lead researcher on the subject of texting and driving. “But if a message is important enough to warrant a response, it’s probably alright to fire off a quick text.”
According to statistics compiled by the Department of Transportation in 2013, 3,154 people died and an additional 424,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes as a result of drivers who were distracted by texting. While this statistic certainly seems alarming, Dr. McKenna sees it a little differently.
“Well yeah, obviously some people can’t handle it,” Dr. McKenna explained. “But for every one person who doesn’t know how to correctly text and drive, there are 100 more who only text at red lights or if they feel like they can probably get away with it.”
The study’s results contend that as long as a person is stuck at a red light or if they’re on an interstate or highway with few curves, it’s pretty much fine to read a text message and type out a quick response as long as they look up at the road every now and again. The conclusions also claim that while not every text warrants a response while driving, if it’s an important enough text like a good friend asking the driver if they want to hang out later, it’s totally cool to text them back.