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The Effects of Drunk Driving Versus Texting While Driving, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 915

Essay

Drunk driving is a popular topic that has been featured prominently in road safety issues for decades, leading to an enactment of stringent regulations and laws being passed in an attempt to reduce road accidents that arise as a result of drunk driving. Unfortunately, texting while driving is quickly replacing drunk driving as a threat and it has been perceived to be a greater risk compared to drunk driving. While there are many similarities between the distractibility related to drunk driving and texting while driving, studies have shown that texting while driving leads to an increased risk of accidents and accident related mortality. Texting and drinking while driving are similar because both activities lead to distraction and likelihood of accident. They are different because the incidence of the problem and demographics of the individuals involved vary.

A major similarity between drinking and texting while driving is that both cause distraction which can consequently lead to collision. However, a major difference between individuals who drink and drive compared to those that text and drive is that driver who texts has a 23% higher chance of an accident, while there is only a 10% risk for individuals who are drinking (Michael, John & Kristie, 2009). This demonstrates that texting while drinking is a more dangerous activity in terms of accident statistics.Studies have shown that driving while texting is equivalent to driving under the influence of four beers (Michael, John & Kristie, 2009). However, in reality, individuals who text while driving remove a greater extent of their focus from the road.While, both habits are cause similar impairments, individuals who drink while driving are still able to focus on the road even though their decision making abilities may become slower. Both impairments can lead to an accident, but the drunk driver has a greater ability to respond to oncoming cars, providing time for breaking, noticing obstructing oncoming vehicles, and being aware of pedestrians. This demonstrates that drinking and texting while driving are similar due to the distractibility of drivers, but differ because of the related mortality statistics.

Another major difference between drunk driving and texting while driving is related to the specific populations that perform these activities. In particular, the frequency in which these activities are performed is a concern. The occurrence of drunk driving has decreased since the legal blood alcohol threshold became .08, which is much lower than previously allowed. As a consequence, drivers have become more aware of the impact of just a few drinks on their ability to drive, which has resulted in decreasedfatalities. In 2002, 12,405 fatalities were attributed to drunk driving and this number decreased by 25% in2011 (Michael, John & Kristie, 2009). Just as the incidence of drunk driving is decreasing, the number of individuals who text while driving is increasing. Statistics indicate texted had caused 2,600 deaths in 2002 and this number increased to 3,331 in 2011 (Farmer, Braitman & Lund, 2010). Therefore, texting while driving is becoming a more prevalent issue due to a lack of awareness and legal regulation. On the other hand, clear action is being taken to reduce the amount of drunk drivers on the road so there has been a demonstrable decrease in the amount of drunk drivers over the years. Drinking and texting while driving is different because of the frequency of related accidents, which is related to the individuals driving the cars and the states in which they are driven in, as this is related to how state law is enforced.

Drinking and texting while driving differs based on location, which is a part of the demographic consideration. The fundamental peril associated with texting while driving involves the need for the driver to take his or her eyes off the road. Appreciable time is needed to locate the phone, browse through the phone, dial and then send the message. Texting while driving therefore has a greater degree of distraction compared to drunk driving since it requires the brain to serve two independent purposes at once. Many states are laying down strict legislations for prohibiting driver from texting while driving (Braitman & McCartt, 2010). However, they are not showing immediate benefit like many similar drinking laws. Since texting while driving is becoming a greater concern than drinking while driving, new laws are being passed that aim to curb this practice. Incidents related to drinking and texting while driving therefore vary by state.

In conclusion, both drinking while driving and texting while driving have been shown to be responsible for many deaths. However, texting while driving is a new problem that has very few regulations compared to those that prevent against drinking while driving. While the number of deaths related to drinking are decreasing significantly, the number of deaths related to texting are on the rise. It is therefore necessary to consider texting while driving as the more immediate problem in driving law. To protect lives, it will become necessary to implement strict regulations that prohibit the use of a cell phone while driving in a manner that follows suit of the laws that regulate drinking while driving. Action must be taken immediately to ensure that innocent lives are saved.

References

Braitman, K.A. & McCartt,  A.T. (2010). “National reported patterns of driver cell phone use in the United States”. Traffic Inj Prev. 11(6):543–8.

Farmer, C.M,  Braitman,  K.A. & Lund, A.K. (2010). “Cell phone use while driving and attributable crash risk”. Traffic Inj Prev. 11(5):466–70.

Michael, R., John, L. & Kristie, Y., (2009). Driver Distraction: Theory, Effects and Mitigation. Boca Raton: Taylor & Francis Group.

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