Texting messages on cell phones while driving increases the chances of crashing by 20 times, according to a new study released Tuesday.
The study, conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute in the US, concluded that sending text messages while driving was the most dangerous of all cell phone related activities.
According to the study, when composing text messages, drivers take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. It increased the risk of a crash over 23 times for drivers, for it is equivalent to "traveling the length of a football field at 55 mph without looking at the roadway", with the risk of hitting many pedestrians, vehicles or highway dividers in the process.
Dialing cell phones while driving is also dangerous, the study says. It increased the crash risk nearly 6 times for truck drivers and nearly 3 times for drivers of cars.
As a result, the institute recommends that texting message should be banned for all drivers, and that any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road should always be avoided.