Drivers are more likely to kill or maim people in crashes in just 5 seconds when they are distracted by text messaging, warns researcher.
He said drivers could cover more than 80m without looking at the road if they spend just five seconds sending a text message while travelling at 60km/h.
The sobering figure comes with the government poised to order a sweeping audit of NSW road statistics following revelations that almost 40 per cent of all crashes involving mobile phones result in serious injury or death.
Monash University's Accident Research Centre head Professor Mark Stevenson said drivers were four times more likely to have an accident while using a mobile.
"Listening to the radio in the car is not a distraction, it enhances concentration," The Herald sun quoted Stevenson as saying.
"But the art of verbalising and taking your eyes off the road raises the risks hugely of having an accident."