Text messaging during simulated driving

Hum Factors. 2009 Oct;51(5):762-70. doi: 10.1177/0018720809353319.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control
  • Automobile Driving / psychology*
  • Cell Phone*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Safety
  • User-Computer Interface*
  • Young Adult