Is texting and driving worse than driving drunk?

This feels like a public service announcement. Here goes …

I had a long interesting discussion with some of my students today. First I asked them how many of them had been in a car while the driver was texting. The answers was overwhelming. Our of 46 people surveyed, 38 indicated that they had been a passenger when the driver was doing something even more dangerous than drunk driving.

More dangerous you ask? I can’t be serious, can I?

Car and Driver Magazine did a study by rigging a redlight to a car and having a driver drive unimpaired at 70mph on a desert track. When the redlight was flashed, it took him .54 seconds to hit the brake.

Next, it was a person who was legally drunk (.08) and it took that person .54 seconds plus 4 feet to hit the brake.

Next, they tested a person who was reading a text or email while driving. It took that person .54 seconds plus 36 feet.

Next, it was a person who was writing a text while driving. It took that person .54 seconds plus 70 feet.

Can anyone see the problem here? People commonly, day in and day out, are using their phones while driving and endangering everyone around them – and they think they have it all under control.  But they don’t.

I’m pretty sure parents lecture their kids on drinking and driving, but perhaps have overlooked something even more dangerous that happens all the time.

As I told my students, each car has this unique device called a brake in which one can stop, pull off the road, and read their text message if it is that important to them.

There is also something called not answering the phone. We have become so conditioned to immediately reaching for our phone when we hear the ding or feel the buzz. It’s as if we are expecting breaking news or a word from God himself. In reality, 99 percent of the text messages we receive are so mundane that we could wait days to read them without ever altering the orbit of the earth around the sun. You can be confident that there is nothing earth-shattering in that text that can’t wait a day, let alone ten minutes.

I hope everyone will think seriously about this. Put down your phones. Stop endangering those who are riding with you and who are driving around you. You just might save a life.

 

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Is texting and driving worse than driving drunk?

  1. I love this post. I rage about texting while driving all the time. (Seriously. My family is sick of hearing it.) Obviously because it’s unsafe. But also because there’s an arrogance to it that’s infuriating; people have such an overinflated sense of their own importance. I’m willing to bet you’re not averting a global crisis via text message. (If you are, text away with my apologies.) You may think your message is important enough to risk the safety of those around you, but I assure you, I’m not willing to die for it. (Or even, like, bleed a little.)

    I think taking a peek at a red light is okay as long as you’re thoroughly prompt when it changes and you put the phone down–all the way!–when your foot hits the gas.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s