Distracted Driving – Testing Drivers While Text Messaging

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 19,152
    Dr. Bill Van Tassel, manager of AAA Driver Training, puts three ordinary drivers behind the wheel on a closed course and challenges them to text while driving.

    Dr. Bill Van Tassel: Hi I am Dr. Bill Van Tassel, Manager of Driver Training Programs for AAA. We are talking about how to avoid distracted driving and today we are going to put three regular drivers to the test, asking them to text and drive on a closed course. This is our closed driving course.

    AAA has setup a route lined with traffic cones. I will be in the passenger's seat and we will ask each driver to read and send text messages on navigating the course. Each driver will be scored on how well they do.

    Text where are you? Where are you? Just between this set of cones here. Text what's for dinner? What's for dinner? This way. Text, I am running late. I am running late. Text, meet me at the movies. Meet me at the movies. Text, pizza tonight? Pizza tonight? Text who is you friend? Who is your friend?

    As you can see these regular drivers had trouble driving while texting. They could not keep the car in their lane, they drove in a jerky manner, and their speed varied quite a bit, their text messages were not very accurate either. Let us see what the drivers thought of the challenge.

    Female Speaker: Driving the course today was more difficult than I imagine. I really felt that I was going to be able to do it just fine. Coming in here I ended up knocking down lots of cones and I found that actually sending text while taking turns in speed was very difficult.

    Male Speaker: I knew there are a lot risks with distracted driving, especially texting, since you need to take your eyes off the road. I don't feel that I will text and drive going forward, because it's way too dangerous.

    Female Speaker: Our friends should know that texting and driving; it seems easy but when you are really trying to pay attention to the road and the text, is difficult. I don't think I will be texting and driving in the future.

    Dr. Bill Van Tassel: Once you have seen driver's attempt here today is an oversimplification of much more complicated behaviors that are occurring on our highways everyday. We hope that after looking and texting and driving from a new outside prospective, you will be convinced not to try it yourself.

    Remember that distracted driving, no matter what the distraction is a hazard for all motorists. When you are behind the wheel, driving safely is the most important thing you should be concentrating on. With common sense and a little planning, you will find that avoiding distraction is not a greater challenge as it may seem and at the end of the day, it's just not worth the risk. Thank you and we will see you on the road.