Is Texting While Driving as Bad as Driving Drunk?

Texting and Driving

Andrea PhillipsAuthor Bio: I am Andrea Phillips, a voracious reader and always looks out for happening topics related to cars & automotive. I specialize in subjects related to car reviews & auto insurance and use my spare time to write on topics related to cars, car insurance quotes, latest auto updates, etc.

These days the cell phone has become as indispensable to our existence as water and food, particularly with the younger generation who have been born with a silver cell on their ears! With the advent of Smartphones, 3G, Wi-Fi and the lot, the mobile phone has evolved from its humble ’emergency communication device’ origins into an out and out holistic communication, entertainment, lifestyle device that gives you the benefits of a computer, the internet, a camera, and an iPod all rolled into one.

While the benefits of this versatile device are phenomenal, we’ve become so dependent on them that it’s having a detrimental effect on our lives. From estranged interpersonal relationships to miscommunication via the digital medium, the cell phone has taken its toll on our lives. However, no menace of the cell phone is as potentially fatal as using the phone while driving. We’ve all done it, we all think it’s no big deal, I’ll openly admit that I too used to use my phone while driving before I read about how risky it is. I’ve stopped now, and hopefully by the end of this article, you will too.

The Dangers of Texting While Driving

texting-while-driving-teens

The reason I’m hoping you’ll stop is because it has been proven that texting while driving can be as dangerous if not more so than driving under the influence of alcohol. A practical test carried out by Car and Driver magazine proved this. The subjects of the test reacted significantly slower to a braking situation while reading and writing a text as compared to being intoxicated by alcoholic substances.

Texting while driving has been flagged by the US government on multiple occasions as one of the most dangerous practices carried out on our roads as well. According to the United States Department of Transportation, 660,000 people are involved in using cell phones or other such electronic devices while driving during the daytime at any given moment. Wait a minute for that to sink in, for every moment that the sun is shining, on the road, there are 660,000 people using their phones while driving! 660,000 putting their own and other people’s lives at risk.

To further quantify the seriousness of the problem, 3,331 people lost their lives in 2011 as a result of distracted driving according to the U.S. Government’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention- motor vehicle safety page, who also added that 69% of drivers in the US between the age of 18 and 64 admitted to using their cell phones while driving, making it the bulk of the distracted driving issue.

Keep Your Head on the Road and Hands on the Wheel

Texting while driving facts

A study conducted by the Dept. of Psychology at the University of Kansas corroborates the government’s findings, as according to their survey on the subject 70% of young adults initiate text conversations while driving, 81% respond to texts and a staggering 91% read texts while driving their cars. What’s even scarier is that according to the same study, over two out of three young adults use both hands to text while driving!

Despite the damning statistics however, according to the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, who published this study in April 2012, 1 out of 5 youngsters believe that texting while driving does not affect their driving performance.

Forget the statistics, all you need to do is turn on the news and see the results of texting while driving for yourself. This video posted on the LA Times’ website hits straight at the heart of the issue and talks about four different instances of real American people and how they suffered due to this.

There Are Consequences

Car hanging from power line

Even if you don’t suffer from a fatal or near fatal accident, the financial repercussions of texting while driving is also worth contemplating. For instance, if you get into an accident while you were texting and driving, you will be adjudged as the ‘at fault’ party and will most likely see increased premium costs or in extreme cases even an outright refusal of policy renewal. Even big, nationwide insurers such as The Hartford, The General, Acceptance insurance have been known to balk at covering serial offenders who have multiple ‘at fault’ counts against their name.

So for this reason and many others besides, don’t text and drive. Ask yourself, is that text message, WhatsApp or BlackBerry message really that important that you end up risking your life and that of countless others as a result of attending to it?

Texting while driving infographic:

Texting while Driving

1 Comment on "Is Texting While Driving as Bad as Driving Drunk?"

  1. Mike Blansfield

    Texting can be stopped if the phone companies weren’t so greedy. Just get rid of the feature, its not needed anyway. Phones were meant to talk on, not type on. People should start suing the phone companies if deaths can be proved to be caused by cell phone use while driving.

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