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No matter how you text, it's still safer to talk and drive

MOBILE phones - we know we should not use them when we drive.

But even if we had advanced technology, including spy-like high-tech glasses that would display a text message on the lens as you wore them, you might not be that much safer.

Jason McCarley, a researcher at South Australia's Flinders University, conducted a study where drivers were placed in a simulator.

They received and sent text messages using a mobile phone and high-tech glasses.

Mr McCarley said "lane keeping" - trying to stay in a lane marked out for the drivers - was just as bad when a driver was reading a text message on the glasses as it was when their head was down looking at their phone.

He said the study suggested the glasses engendered visual distraction and drivers were taking their attention away from the road to process the information.

Interestingly, he said studies had shown a driver who chatted to someone or completed a cognitive task while behind the wheel was able to keep to their lane.

Jeff Hickman, from Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, said his studies had shown that talking on the phone was safe and did not increase the risk of crashing.

But all other aspects of using a phone, such as reaching for it or dialling, were risky. He said the safest way of driving was for the driver to have their eyes on the road, and hands on the wheel.

Anything else, including touching a button, increased the risk of crashing.


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