Driving While Texting: You Gotta Be Kidding Me!
What used to be known as typing is now known as “texting” by the young and the technologically savvy not-so young, so long as it is done on an electronic apparatus that transmits the typed message to another electronic apparatus. Driving under the influence has become such a social taboo thanks to nearly three decades of government paid advertising that most people recognize the acronym DUI (driving under the influence). However, according to a growing body of research and empirical observation, “driving while texting” is a potentially worse hazard than DUI, and should be just as socially unacceptable as driving drunk.
Driving while texting (DWT), which is typing on something much smaller than a bread box, is now afflicting our culture as a consequence of cellphone addiction. Had we asked thirty years ago, which is worse - driving drunk (much worse than today’s “impaired to the slightest degree”) or driving while typing - the nearly universal response would have been the latter. Now it seems that there must be a study of everything.
Sure enough, the U.K. Transport Research Laboratory study, commissioned by the Royal Automobile Club Foundation, has concluded that motorists sending text messages while driving are “significantly more impaired” than those who drive drunk. The study showed texters’ reaction times deteriorated by 35 per cent with an incredible 91 per cent decrease in steering ability, while similar studies of drunk driving indicate reaction time is reduced by about 12 per cent. By that measure, DWT is three times more dangerous than DUI, and logically ought to be treated as severely, if not more so, under the law and in terms of social disapproval.
Studies by the U.S. National Highway Safety Administration show that 85 per cent of all motor vehicle crashes are caused by distracted driving- not drunk driving. However, laws banning DWT are still quite rare. After all, who thought about driving down the highway at 65 miles per hour while typing thirty, twenty, or even ten years ago? Maybe some day soon the folks at MADD will become irate about this issue too. Nah, I almost forgot. Outlawing DWT has nothing to do with virtual prohibition - MADD’s real goal.Written by Allen Trapp who is board certified by the National College for DUI Defense and the author of Georgia DUI Survival Guide Visit Website