Cognitive Versus Motor Components of Text Messaging Impairment of Driving

Investigations of cell phone use while driving have been largely limited to studies of verbal conversation based usage (e.g. Strayer & Drews, 2007), now a well documented source of impairment to driving. However, the number of text messages sent from mobile phones now exceeds phone calls in volume (Neilsen, 2008), and so understanding the impact of text messaging on driving has assumed greater importance.
The process of texting can be broken down at its most basic into the motor act of pressing buttons, reading and interpreting incoming messages, and reading incoming messages plus generating outgoing messages in response. The objectives of the current research were first to confirm if indeed text messaging would impair driving performance, and second to examine relative contribution of each component to that impairment.

Poster presented at the 79th annual convention of the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association, Albuquerque, NM.