Drunk driving is dangerous and is typically at the forefront of people’s minds when it comes to illegal and dangerous driving behavior. However, many people don’t realize that distracted driving is just as bad—if not worse— than drunk driving.
Texting While Driving
Texting while driving is the equivalent of having four drinks.
Drinking that much alcohol typically raises a person’s blood alcohol content to somewhere between 0.07% and 0.20%, depending on the person. The legal limit is 0.08%.
At a blood alcohol content of 0.07%, a person’s driving abilities are significantly impaired and their reaction time is considerably slowed. The same goes for texting while driving.
The underlying problem with texting while driving is taking your eyes off the road. The average driver takes their eyes off the road for four seconds to read a text, and much longer to respond to one. Much can change in those four seconds; cars on the highway travel at over 100 feet per second.
Over the past few years, the number of people who text while driving has risen, making texting while driving one of the most dangerous driving behaviors.
Talking on the Phone
Numerous studies indicate that talking on the phone, like texting, is just as dangerous as drinking when it comes to driving. A study conducted by the University of Utah shows the speed, braking and distance profiles over time of drunk drivers, drivers talking on the phone and a control group. The results show little difference in driving behaviors between the first two groups.
In fact, the study suggested that, in regards to time on task, cell-phone users could be impaired even more than drunk drivers.
What About Hands Free Devices?
As new laws emerge prohibiting cell phone use, people have turned to using hands free and Bluetooth devices to take their calls while on the road. But is this really safer?
In some ways the hands free device can be safer: drivers don’t need to look away from the road answer or end calls. As this is one of the major problems with talking and texting on the road, hands free devices will make driving safer by eliminating time spent looking at a phone.
However, the act of carrying on a conversation while driving is also dangerous. No studies have been able to pinpoint a reason why but simply note that a conversation on the phone is different than one held in the car. Researchers hypothesize that a passenger can alter his or her speech patterns to make the conversation easier on the driver, whereas people who aren’t in the car can’t.
For this reason, it is just as dangerous to talk with someone on the phone as it is to use a hands free device. Carrying on a conversation with someone outside the car requires a significant amount of brainpower and concentration, and that alone can cause risky distraction.
Any time you or a family member gets behind the wheel, I ask that you stress the importance of avoiding distracted driving!
This includes putting the cell phones away, concentrating on the road, and limiting the number of passengers in a young driver’s vehicle.
Each day brings a new type of distraction, especially with our younger generations and the growth of technology. We must learn to minimize distraction and teach this to our new drivers as well. If you or a family member was injured in a car accident due to a distracted driver, call me today.
As your Ohio car accident attorney, I’ll be there for you, and I will Make Them Pay!®
Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injury, medical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus, Dayton and neighboring communities.” You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 1 (800) 556-4769.