Driving while intoxicated is a dangerous act. However, a more common occurrence can be just as dangerous if not more dangerous than, driving while distracted. Thousands of Americans drive distracted while behind the wheel every day. While the distractions may appear harmless or insignificant, thousands of deaths occur each year to distracted drivers. Three key components can teach people how distracted driving is indeed more dangerous than driving while intoxicated.
Difference in Reaction Times
Many people may be surprised to learn that driving while distracted can inhibit your decision-making abilities behind the wheel more significantly than driving intoxicated. One case study clearly shows the difference in reaction times between a distracted driver and an intoxicated driver. An intoxicated driver going 55 miles per hour takes an additional four feet to break in comparison to a sober driver. A distracted driver going 55 miles per hour takes nearly an additional 70 feet to break in comparison to a sober driver. That is a staggering difference. It is also reported that texting while driving at least 55 miles per hour equates to traveling an entire football field without looking.
More Difficult to Prove
When driving under the influence there are several ways an officer making a stop can prove that a driver is intoxicated. An officer may measure an individual’s blood-alcohol level, if it reads over .08 the driver is over the legal limit in any of the fifty states. Unfortunately, driving while distracted is much more difficult to prove. There are no tests to show a driver was texting or talking on the phone while driving. The difficulty in detecting distracted drivers raises a problem in preventing the thousands of accidents that occur due to distracted driving each year. Trained professionals such as auto injury lawyers are equipped to handle these accidents and the data that is required to show another driver was distracted.
Nearly everyone is aware of the dangers of driving while intoxicated. Furthermore, most people understand there are heavy criminal consequences associated with drunk driving. In most states, driving while intoxicated on the first offense can still lead to jail time, several thousand dollars in fines, and even a revoked license. These are heavy penalties for a first-time offense. On the same token, driving while distracted carries penalties that are much less severe despite the dangers. For example, A driver caught texting while driving can usually expect a fine below $400, no repercussions to his or her license, and no jail time. As a result, many more people are willing to risk the consequences of texting while driving as opposed to driving while intoxicated.
All in all, distracted driving can certainly be more dangerous than driving while intoxicated. The impeded reaction times, convenience, and frequency of driving while distracted make this an extremely dangerous driving habit to have. Although the criminal consequences associated with distracted driving may not appear too harsh, the results of a crash induced by distractions can be catastrophic.
Author information: Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from Utah. She enjoys tennis and spending time with her family.