They then ran the test with a these two people driving and paying attention to the road at 35 and 70 miles per hour. Time to break was an average of 0.54 seconds.
The metric they decided to use was how many additional feet were needed to bring the car to a complete halt.
When legally impaired with a blood alcohol level of 0.08, the drivers (young/old) added 11 and 4 feet to their total stopping distances, respectively, at 70MPH.
When reading an email, the drivers added 45 and 36 extra feet to their stopping distance.
When sending text messages, they added 9 and 70 feet to their total stopping distance.
Obviously, these distances are significant enough to cause an accident.
The urge to check incoming messages is sometimes hard to resist. The little red blinking light on a BlackBerry may represent an important email, after all. If your business has employees who must use mobile phones when in the car, be sure to set strict policies about messaging from behind the wheel.