Whether or not you believe in drunk driving or texting while driving, the truth is that both activities are dangerous. They can lead to serious injuries or even death, and the consequences are often long-lasting. Fortunately, there are ways to minimize the risk of accidents and injuries caused by these dangerous activities.
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Many people have a misconception that texting while driving is not as bad as drunk driving, or worse, that it’s not even that distracting at all. However, a recent study found that texting while driving is actually more dangerous than drinking and driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that texting while driving is six times more likely to cause a crash than drunk driving. This is because sending or receiving a text takes your eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, or more than the time it would take to drive the length of a football field blindfolded at 55 miles per hour.
Drivers who are texting while driving have a slower reaction time than drivers who are not distracted by their cell phones, according to a 2009 study from Car and Driver Magazine. In this experiment, the magazine outfitted a Honda Pilot with a red light mounted on the front windshield that flashed when the brakes needed to be applied.
They tested how quickly drivers could respond when they were sober, when they were under the influence of alcohol, and when they were reading or sending a text message. In fact, when it came to braking, drivers who were texting while driving slowed their reactions by as much as 23 percent more than those who were sober or under the influence of alcohol.
This is because a cell phone can send a text message in a split second and the human brain can’t focus on more than one thing at a time. It’s why it can be so difficult to react to an emergency situation while you are texting, and why this is so dangerous for everyone on the road.
Another study found that a driver’s reaction time to a car braking in front of them is slowed by a staggering 35 percent when they are texting while driving, compared with a 23 percent decrease when the same reaction time was taken when they were drunk.
Besides causing more crashes than drunk driving, texting while driving is also the leading cause of pedestrian accidents. In fact, some areas are banning the use of handheld phones while walking.
In the United States alone, 390,000 injuries happen due to drivers who are texting while driving. This is a far higher number than injuries and fatalities in drunk driving accidents, which account for just under half of all road deaths.
As a personal injury lawyer who specializes in distracted driving cases, I’ve seen the devastating effects that accidents can have on victims and their loved ones. It’s a terrible feeling to know that you or someone you love has been injured or killed because of your careless behavior.