Distracted Driving as Dangerous as Drunken Driving

Which is more hazardous: talking on a cell phone while driving or driving while intoxicated? Most people would probably rate intoxication as the more serious offense. Sure, you should not be texting when you are speeding down the highway, but what is the harm in making a quick phone call?

A recent study put this question to the test using simulated driving technology to compare driving while talking on a cell phone or with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent, the legal threshold for intoxication. The drunk drivers became more aggressive and drove at an unsafe close distance behind another vehicle. When that vehicle stopped suddenly, they had to apply their brakes hard. However, cell phone users had a delayed response time to the car in front of them that put them at risk for a traffic accident.

One more finding worth noting: using a hands-free device was not less dangerous than using a hand-held device. Instead of keeping their attention on the road, drivers involved in a phone conversation often do not see what is in front of them — such as the next car making a sudden stop — until it is too late.

Drunk driving penalties and public education efforts have led to a significant decrease in this dangerous behavior. Data from studies like this suggests that current distracted driving laws are not strict enough — but getting people to turn off their gadgets while driving will not be an easy task. If you have been injured due to distracted driving, contact a Maryland accident lawyer at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, P.A. right away for legal advice and assistance with your accident claim.