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Texting while driving is more dangerous than drinking and driving

December 17, 2013 by Steven M. Gursten

Drinking and driving

Texting while driving versus drunk driving:

Why doesn’t Michigan treat texting while driving like drunk driving? I posed this question in my blog post yesterday, as texting while driving a car is as dangerous as drunken driving.

The science on this issue has, to date, gone unrefuted. Here’s some of what’s been said:

texting while driving more dangerous than drunk driving

  • In a ground-breaking test in 2009, Car and Driver Magazine determined that texting while driving was more dangerous than drunk driving because driver reaction time was considerably slower when reading and writing a text message than when the driver was intoxicated.
  • In 2012, Forbes reported that texting while driving “[i]s 6x more dangerous than driving while intoxicated.”
  • Similarly, in 2013, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a study noting that the “lessons learned from the current research suggest that … the impairments to driving [resulting from “voice-based interaction” with “speech-to-text system[s] to send and receive text or e-mail messages”] … may rise to the level associated with drunk driving.” (For more on the AAA-FTS study, check out our blog post, “Does “hands-free” driving mean risk free?” )

Additionally, a study from the University of Utah made the following conclusions about the dangers of using a cell phone while driving:

“[C]ell phone use was associated with a 4-fold increase in the likelihood of getting into an accident and that this increased risk was comparable to that observed when driving with a blood alcohol level at the legal limit. … [D]riving performance was more impaired when drivers were conversing on a cell phone than when these same drivers were legally intoxicated.”

Tomorrow I’ll write about why the criminal punishment for texting and driving must catch up with the penalties of driving and driving in Michigan.

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