Avoidable Hazard: Drive Safer, Don’t Text and Drive
Almost every cell phone user knows how to send and receive text messages. In December of 2005, 9.8 billion texts were sent. Three years later, that number ballooned to 110.4 billion.
Many of these messages are sent by people who are operating a motor vehicle. Car and Driver recently conducted a test to see how dangerous it is to send text messages while driving. Other scientific studies have proven that texting distracts drivers and reduces their reaction times. However, these tests were all performed on a vehicle simulator. The C&D experiment also compared the effects of drunk driving under identical conditions.
The texting test
The test focused completely on the driver’s reaction to an eye-level windshield-mounted light that was intended to simulate the brake lights of a lead vehicle. The test was conducted on a rented airport runway with a young driver and an older driver. The two test drivers used phones that had full QWERTY keyboards. When the red light came on, the drivers were supposed to hit the brakes of the Honda Pilot test car. The passenger triggered the red light and tracked the drivers’ reactions. The drivers were told to use their cell phones exactly as they would while driving normally. The tests were held at 35 and 70 miles per hour. The two drivers received and sent texts while they drove. Both the drivers took the test again after drinking vodka.
The younger driver’s reaction times slowed by more than one-tenth of a second while reading and slightly less than one-tenth of a second while sending a text. That represents 20 to 30 feet while moving. The older driver’s reaction times were even slower. He went an extra 319 feet at 70 mph and an extra 90 feet at 35 mph. The results of the drunken driving test were not as bad.
While there are laws against drinking and driving, texting is still in its infancy. While there is no texting and driving ban in Oklahoma today, there are rules against distracted driving, and Tulsa police are permitted to ticket inattentive texting motorists a distracted driving charge.
Laws regarding texting have yet to be enacted nationally. However, it is clear that texting is a dangerous habit that drivers should avoid.
If you were involved in an accident with a driver who was texting, contact us for legal representation.