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Using a Cell Phone while Driving Equivalent to Driving Drunk

February 5, 2012
Colson Hicks Eidson

Drivers have busy lives, stressful jobs, children in the car, and paying attention to the road can become secondary. Despite many states passing laws limiting or banning certain activities while driving, 20 percent of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).

According to the United States Government’s Website for Distracted driving, distracted driving is as any non-driving activity that has the potential to distract the driver from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of a car accident. All drivers are guilty of distracted driving at some point. Distracted driving falls into three categories:

  • Visual distraction – taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual distraction – taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive – taking your mind off what you are doing

Texting while driving encompasses all three of the above categories. Other distracting activities include cell phone use, eating, reading, changing the radio station and talking to passengers in the back seat. However, it is the use of electronic devices while driving that has brought distracted driving to the forefront in recent years. Research from the NHTSA shows that drivers using hand-held devices are four times as likely to injure themselves in a car crash. According to a study at the University of Utah, using a cell phone while driving delays a driver’s reaction time the same as someone with a blood alcohol level of .08. That’s not just illegal – it is dangerous to the driver, the passengers and all others on the road.

Has a distracted driver affected your life?
Colson Hicks Eidson – Florida injury attorneys