A P.E.I. student has won bronze in the national science fair for her research into the hazards of distracted driving.

Grade 8 Gulf Shore student Brenna Howatt tested two dozen teens between 13 and 18 years old, using a computer program to simulate driving while distracted by music, conversation and texting.

Her research found texting had a significant negative impact on driving, while music and talking did not.

"I had each of the participants sit in front of the computer and hit the space bar whenever the light on the computer monitor turned green, and that would give me their reaction time," said Howatt.

"Texting does significantly increase your reaction time, nearly three times more than an undistracted condition. That would mean you could travel up to 35 meters further than being undistracted. So that would cause a very big issue not only for yourself and people in the car, but also the people around you and outside the car."

Howatt would like to continue her research on teens and texting using a closed driving course.

For mobile device users: Do you text while driving?