Why Texting And Driving Is Worse Than Drunk Driving

By Janice Larsen
Updated September 26, 2014
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Why Texting And Driving Is Worse Than Drunk DrivingTexting is now a favored means of communication for many people, supplanting telephone calls and e-mail. Young people are especially fond of texting, sometimes exchanging hundreds of texts in a day. It is an instant connection to their friends, and one they don't want to be without, even for a short time. When driving, this can be even more dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol.

Texting And Driving

According to the National Safety Council, texting is involved in about 1.6 million traffic accidents per year. This is almost 25 percent of all car accidents in the United States. These texting-related accidents injure about 330,000 people each year.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that texting while driving makes a person 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash. Looking at a text you receive takes 5 seconds, about enough time to travel a hundred yards, or the length of a football field. It is basically the same as driving blind for a period of 5 seconds, as you divert your attention to focus on a text message.

This distracted driving is highly dangerous. Yet, at any given time, there are about 800,000 drivers in the United States who are texting and “driving blind” like this. About 14 percent of drivers in the country reported that they read text or e-mail messages while they’re driving. About 10 percent said that they sometimes send texts or e-mails while they’re driving.

Texting Vs. Phone Calls

Talking on the phone while driving also creates a distraction and increases your chances of an accident, but it is not nearly as bad as texting. Drivers who talk on their cell phone are 4 times as likely to be in a car accident as non-distracted drivers. In comparison, drivers who text are 23 times as likely to crash.

Teens And Texting

Teens are particularly at risk for texting and driving. Not only are they the biggest users of text messages, but these young people are also inexperienced drivers, who need to be paying maximum attention to the road. Teenage drivers who are talking on their cell phone or texting are 4 times more likely to get into a car crash than adults doing the same thing. Talking on the phone while driving can slow a teen driver’s reaction time to be the same as a 70-year old. Texting is even more distracting, and it’s the most common driving distraction, which is reported by teenage drivers.

The Institute for Highway Safety says that texting while driving accounts for 11 teenage deaths in the US every day. In spite of the fact that 94 percent of teens say that texting while driving is a serious risk, about 35 percent of them admit that they do it anyway, and 21 percent of teen drivers who were involved in a fatal car accident were distracted by their cell phone at the time of the accident.

Texting Vs. Drinking

Experts at the National Highway Safety Administration say that texting while driving is about the same effect as driving after having 4 beers. Drivers who text are about 6 times more likely to cause an accident than drivers who are intoxicated, and this is exactly why texting is worse than drunk driving.

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