Distracted Driving Can be as Dangerous as Drunk Driving
Written by Greg on November 22, 2014
Most Americans are aware of how dangerous driving can be while behind the wheels of the vehicle. The problem is so prevalent that there are numerous ad campaigns that speak on the potentially dangerous environment that is created by drunk driving.
However, what many may not be aware of is that distracted driving can often be just as dangerous as drunk driving. If you are not aware, according to Distraction.gov, distracted driving refers to any activity that pulls ones attention away from the road such as:
- Texting or Talking on the phone
- Talking to other passengers
- Eating and drinking
- Utilizing a system within the car (video, CD player, etc)
Statistically, according to the research, the number of people involved in a distracted-driving related crash has been on the increase. In 2012, there are over 3,300 distracted-driving related deaths that occurred during that year. Moreover, according to a report put out by the Huffington Post, as presented by Responsibility.org, the drunk driving rate has continued to decrease, which completely undermines the fact that distracted driving, on the other hand, has increased.
It stands to reason that the group that is most at risk, according to the National Traffic Safety Administration is drivers that are under 25 years of age. This group is 3% as more likely than older, established drivers, to text while driving.
This can largely be attributed to the type of interconnected mentality that has developed, which is largely based on the usage of technology. Younger drivers want to access smart phones to send text messages, listen to music, or log onto social media sites – all while behind the wheel of a vehicle. In fact, according to the research, while 95% of drivers over the age of 45 felt that text was “very unsafe” while driving, only 60% of drivers that were within the ages to 18-20 age bracket felt that it was not okay to send a text while driving.
While texting while driving is not always illegal in Texas, Montana, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Missouri, and Arizona, there are additional viable considerations. For instance, one is aware that in many places, including Texas, it is illegal to text while in a school zone. Hopefully, with new leadership in the state of Texas, we can have a uniform anti texting law to make our streets safer.
Overall, according to Distraction.gov, approximately 171.3 billion texts are sent per month in the United States alone. With the mass amount of communication and the potential for other distraction-related activities it is understandable that many drivers may feel that tearing their eyes away from the road, even briefly, is an acceptable practice.
However, as the research points out, five seconds is the typical amount of time that one takes their eyes off the road when engaging in a distraction-based activity, such as sending a text message. While this may not seem like a long time, this is the equivalent of covering one football length while driving at 55 mph.
In short, distracted driving is simply not worth it and many of these activities, such as talking on the phone or text messaging, can simply be put on hold until you arrive at your destination.