More Dangerous: Drunk Driving or Distracted Driving?
First off, I want to preface this by saying I do not advocate driving drunk, or driving while otherwise impaired.
Most of my clients that have been charged with DUI were pulled over for speeding, or other
traffic violations like having a taillight out, etc. Typically things that are not indicative of impaired driving. Then once they are pulled over the officer smells alcohol, they might admit to drinking, do
field sobriety testing, fail the
breathalyzer, etc. The point here being that they weren't displaying any signs of impaired driving, they might even blow under the legal limit of .08, and still get charged with a
DUI, which could result in serious
penalties. Now compare that to someone who is texting while driving, eating a cheeseburger, putting on make-up etc. The penalties for distracted driving are no where near those of a
DUI, and the truth is that the distracted driver may be driving much worse, and putting more people at risk that the person who had a couple of drinks. Again, I am not advocating drinking and driving, just pointing out flaws in my opinion of our current system.
See the story about distracted driving below:
"Would you believe that eating food while at the wheel of a vehicle could be more dangerous than drinking or texting while driving?
According to a study by the University of Leeds called “Two Hands Better than One,” this is exactly what researchers found based on observation of test subjects operating driving simulators.
The UK researchers measured reaction time while drivers negotiated virtual vehicles, and as it turns out, eating increased response times by 44 percent.
In contrast, texting increased reaction time by 37 percent, and drinking a non-alcoholic beverage from a can or bottle increased reaction time by 22 percent.
And what about the one driving no-no that that nearly everyone agrees is undesirable – drinking alcohol and operating a vehicle?
Drivers asked to operate the simulator who were at the U.S. “legal limit” of .08 percent blood alcohol content increased reaction time by 12.5 percent.
We have heard no word yet on whether Mothers Against Drunk Driving will now open an auxiliary unit focusing on the ill effects of fast food drive-in lines and convenience stores.
Seriously though, distracted driving is a real problem – as is following too closely, we’ll add.
Common sense dictates that drivers can compound their chances for an accident if they do not self-govern and recognize their limits. And as the study indicates, a distraction can come in several forms – even ones that have been considered benign.
In fact also, different people have different levels of skills, psychological temperaments, tolerances, and in short, what one person may get away with, could be deadly for another.
For example, studies on alcohol consumption and driving have shown some habitual drunk drivers did so dozens of times before actually being caught by the law.
For one thing, researchers found habitual drunk drivers can be practiced at hunkering down and focusing as much of their waning attention ability on the task at hand, for fear of being busted.
In contrast, eating while driving is a time-honored tradition – and big business we’ll add – and perhaps this could create a false sense of security?
Much more could be said about this subject which the U.S. Department of Transportation has been up in arms about in recent years, labeling distracted driving an “epidemic.”
Bottom line is be safe, and stay in control. Try to recognize what will distract you and as a word to the wise: don’t do it."
Thanks to Hybrid Cars and Jeff Cobb for the article.
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