Is Texting While Driving as Dangerous as Drunk Driving?

textingA variety of new laws, studies and educational campaigns have appeared in recent years in an effort to reduce distracted driving accidents caused by texting while driving.

While these efforts have been successful in increasing public awareness of the problem, there are plenty of drivers who still don’t realize just how dangerous this behavior really is.

Many drivers who continue to text while driving wouldn’t dream of getting behind the wheel while they were intoxicated. According to the findings from a variety of leaders in road safety, however, texting while driving may actually be just as dangerous as driving drunk.

In 2009, Car and Driver Magazine conducted a study to test how dangerous texting while driving is compared to drunk driving. They rented out a stretch of taxiway at an airport in Michigan where a pair of drivers were required to hit their brakes at speeds of 35 MPH and 70 MPH when they saw a red light designed to mimic another vehicle’s brake lights.

The results of the study were surprising:

  • When drivers were unimpaired by texting or drinking, they took about half of a second to respond to the light and hit their brakes.
  • When they were behind the wheel with a blood alcohol content of 0.08, they drove an additional 4 feet before braking.
  • When they were reading email while driving, they drove an additional 35 feet before braking.
  • When they were sending a text while driving, they took an additional 70 feet before braking.

Others have come to the conclusion that texting while driving may be more dangerous than drunk driving as well. The Transport Research Laboratory for the British Royal Automobile Club Foundation found that sending a text while driving is more dangerous than driving under the influences of drugs or alcohol. A recent article in the Washington Times cites texting while driving as being six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety points out that hands free options can also cause distractions that are just as dangerous as drunk driving in some instances.

If texting while driving is as dangerous as drunk driving, there is work to be done in bringing attention to this issue to the public.

Just as previous campaigns have been successful in teaching drivers that driving while intoxicated is unacceptable under any circumstances, today’s drivers need to learn that the same holds true for texting from behind the wheel.

Help from a personal injury lawyer

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident in our area, a car accident lawyer serving Sarasota may be able to fight for your rights. Call Abrahamson & Uiterwyk today at 1-800-753-5203 for a free case evaluation.