(NECN/NBC News: Barbara Morse Silva ) - Distracted driving is a dangerous habit thousands of Americans do every day. Dr. Manbir Sodhi, with the help of his engineering students at URI, has been studying distracted driving for years.
The equipment used to track distracted driving is more high tech than when he started his research in 1999. The engineering students at URI can track distracted driving in a blink of an eye.
"The effects of distractions to some extent are your range of eye movements become much narrower," Dr. Sodhi said.
Texting is a whole other problem and it goes beyond tunnel vision.
"The studies have shown that you can be off road as long as four seconds," Dr. Sodhi said.
To put that in to perspective, you have to ask yourself, "Would you drive for four seconds with your eyes closed? Would you drive for any amount of time with your eyes closed? It's the same thing," Dr. Sodhi said.
What about those who text at a stop sign?
"It's common knowledge people think that you're not moving so you can take your eyes off cuz everyone is so connected nowadays that that's more of a focus on driving for some people now," said student James Campbell.
"When you're at a stop sign, when you come out of a stop sign there's a lot of eye movements so you look around quite intensely at that time," Dr. Sodhi said. "You're sacrificing that."
It's that seemingly small distraction that can have a disastrous impact in the blink of an eye.