A study found sending a text message delays reaction times by 37 per cent. By comparison, using cannabis slows it by 21 per cent, and drinking to the legal limit by 13 per cent.

Speaking on a hand-held telephone remains the most dangerous, delaying reaction by 46 per cent, the Transport Research Laboratory found.

Federal statistics suggest that distracted driving contributes to as much as 20 percent of all fatal crashes, and that cell phones constitute the primary source of driver distraction. Researchers point to two numbers to illustrate the magnitude of the texting while driving problem: an estimated 5 billion text messages are sent each day in the United States, and at least 20 percent of all drivers have admitted to texting while driving.

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