Researchers and Cops Target Texting Drivers

4 years 11 months 5 days ago July 26, 2011 Jul 26, 2011 Tuesday, July 26 2011 Tuesday, July 26, 2011 1:26:00 PM CDT in News
By: Kylie McGivern

COLUMBIA - From a man who sees accidents nearly every day comes a new study on texting and driving. 

The research has to do with how distractions impact reaction time.

Tuesday, at the Columbia Police Department Training Facility, firefighter/EMT Chip Lange got behind the wheel and demonstrated his study findings on a driving simulator.

The simulator takes drivers through a virtual course, complete with unexpected turns and road signs. The simulator-experience can best be compared to sitting in a video game, complete with three screens to provide drivers with an experience close to reality. In Lange's study, the 33 participants were asked to attempt texting while navigating the course.

"The bottom line of this research is the fact that our body physically can't keep up with the fact of being distracted. That's a huge issue with this and this is something that's new because before, we thought reflex, we can respond quickly, doesn't really matter. Now, we realize our body just can't keep up because you have the part of us that recognizes what's going on behaviorally, but the part of us biologically trying to respond just isn't quick enough," Lange said.

His inspiration for the study?

"As a firefighter/EMT there's been a couple of times where I've seen actual accidents from texting and driving and also, I've been nearly hit by drivers who were distracted," Lange said. 

He conducted the study in the Spring, while a senior at Westminster College, but is working now to share his results.

Those results show drivers' reaction times when texting. Thirty-three people were studied, including some who are "frequent texters," which meant those who text while driving at least 10 percent of the time "infrequent texters," those who text while driving less than 10 percent of the time, and firefighters/EMTs, because they are trained to do multiple duties at once when driving to an accident. Everyone who tried to text while driving the simulator crashed. But Lange says frequent texters did the best navigating the similated driving test while texting.

He explained that when traveling 50 feet per second, at 34 miles per hour, firefighters on the simulator responded at 2/10 of a second. This means they recognized an object within 10 feet of traveling. Infrequent texters took up to half a second on average, so they recognized an object within 25 ft. 

That distance in reaction time can be the difference between life and death - as when a child darts across the street, Lange said. He explained our bodies simply cannot react fast enough when a distraction is thrown in the path.

Columbia Police Department Traffic Unit's Scott Decker writes tickets for those 21 or under texting and driving, and says he's seen it all. 

"I've seen people's driving habits where they're doing this (texting). One lady, she had both hands on the center of the steering wheel texting while driving, going approximately 50 miles an hour... That's scary. She's not paying attention to the number one thing she should be doing and that's driving," Decker said.  

Lange hopes to share the study when MoDot promotes texting and driving awareness in the Fall, as well as sumbit his research to scientific journals.

The Missouri Department of Transportation said distracted driving accounted for 28 percent of Missouri crashes in 2009. 

"... senseless deaths that don't need to occur. That text can wait," Decker said. 

It is unclear how many distracted driving accident are from texting, because that information is not currently included in injury crash reports.

That will change next year.

Chip Lange Research Paper

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA – Just as the Supreme Court struck down the Texas abortion law, the Columbia Planned Parenthood’s abortion license expired.... More >>
6 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 1:47:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — Missouri passed a new law requiring all students entering ninth grade in public, charter, and private schools to... More >>
6 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 1:40:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY — Some Missouri drivers may see red, white and blue in the form of police lights over the... More >>
7 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 12:55:00 PM CDT in News
PLATTE CITY (AP) — A Missouri man accused of killing four of his relatives has pleaded not guilty to charges... More >>
7 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 12:24:00 PM CDT in News
OSAGE BEACH — Starting on July 1, the City of Osage Beach 911 Communications Center will be able to receive... More >>
7 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 12:04:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — According to Columbia Police Department data, Columbia typically sees an increase in burglaries during July. Spokesperson Bryana... More >>
8 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 11:54:00 AM CDT in News
WARRENSBURG (AP) — The president of the University of Central Missouri has been hospitalized after a bicycle crash in Colorado.... More >>
8 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 11:22:55 AM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A company is trying again to build a power line in Missouri for a multistate wind... More >>
8 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 11:11:28 AM CDT in News
HALLSVILLE — An Endangered Person Advisory has been issued for a Hallsville area woman who was reported missing on Wednesday.... More >>
9 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 10:57:00 AM CDT in News
MOBERLY — Businesses in Moberly are double-checking money as multiple reporters of counterfeit cash are under investigation by local police.... More >>
10 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 9:08:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — This summer might be a little bit quieter because this year's cicada season, beginning in July, will have... More >>
11 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 8:45:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Low enrollment and more dorms open than needed has caused the University of Missouri to add Respect Residence... More >>
11 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 8:13:05 AM CDT in News
SEDALIA - One person was arrested Thursday in connection with a shooting in Sedalia that left two injured. The... More >>
11 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 8:08:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Welcome Home Inc. broke ground on mid-Missouri's only emergency homeless shelter for veterans Thursday morning. Located off... More >>
12 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 7:55:00 AM CDT in News
JOPLIN (AP) — A southwest Missouri youth sports league is working to rebuild after a former leader embezzled tens of... More >>
12 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 7:27:25 AM CDT in News
CAPE GIRARDEAU (AP) — This Fourth of July will be extra special for Southeast Missouri State University president Carlos Vargas-Aburto... More >>
14 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 5:36:38 AM CDT in News
HALLSVILLE – The Hallsville school board approved an approximate $430,000 in budget cuts Thursday night at the Intermediate School at... More >>
14 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 5:26:00 AM CDT in News
MONROE COUNTY - Two men broke into a Monroe County home just south of Madison and tied up the residents... More >>
14 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 Thursday, June 30, 2016 5:20:00 AM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 78°
8pm 80°
9pm 77°
10pm 75°
11pm 72°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

7:00p
2016 U.S. Summer Olympic Trials
8:00p
Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge
9:00p
Aquarius
7:00p
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
8:00p
Beauty and the Beast
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
2016 U.S. Summer Olympic Trials
8:00p
Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge
9:00p
Aquarius
7:00p
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
8:00p
Beauty and the Beast
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld