December 11, 2012
Texting While Driving Vs. Drinking and Driving
The nation risks a relentless rise in deadly accidents unless it makes texting while driving as forbidden as drinking and driving. Sending or receiving a text message takes a driver’s eyes from the road long enough to drive the length of a football field while driving an average speed of 55 miles per hour; that does not include having a reaction time. Distraction behind the wheel is becoming the new Driving under the influence, and is reaching epidemic proportions. The United States Department of Transportation has launched a variety of campaigns to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving making April the National Distracted Driving Awareness month. Few studies have investigated whether a difference exists between the two laws which intend to eradicate drinking and driving and texting while driving. All fifty states have a per se law setting the limit of alcohol to .08 Blood Alcohol Content for drinking and driving. This law means any blood alcohol at or above .08 is in fact a crime while operating a vehicle. As of today, 40 states have a texting ban on all drivers (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 2012). Even with a national push to ban texting while driving, Congress has not passed any acts making adopting a ban beneficial to a state such as the way congress praised the .08 per se law for drinking and driving. According to the National Highway Administration, there were 32,885 deaths in motor vehicle collisions in 2010 (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2010). Distracted driving provided 5,474 of those fatalities. Cell phone use was fully known to have caused 995 of the distracted driver deaths, but that number could be greater due to officers having a hard time determining whether a cell phone undoubtedly contributed to more of the fatal collision. Alternatively,...