Objective: This research aims to identify the impact of text messaging on simulated driving performance.
Background: In the past decade, a number of on-road, epidemiological, and simulator-based studies reported the negative impact of talking on a cell phone on driving behavior. However, the impact of text messaging on simulated driving performance is still not fully understood.
Method: Forty participants engaged in both a single task (driving) and a dual task (driving and text messaging) in a high-fidelity driving simulator.
Results: Analysis of driving performance revealed that participants in the dual-task condition responded more slowly to the onset of braking lights and showed impairments in forward and lateral control compared with a driving-only condition. Moreover, text-messaging drivers were involved in more crashes than drivers not engaged in text messaging.
Conclusion: Text messaging while driving has a negative impact on simulated driving performance. This negative impact appears to exceed the impact of conversing on a cell phone while driving.
Application: The results increase our understanding of driver distraction and have potential implications for public safety and device development.