University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Texting and Driving vs. Drinking and Driving
Did you know that 27 people in America die each day due to drunk driving fatalities and another 15 due to fatalities linked to distracted driving? According to Johnston and Wiggins, 2012 Every year there are thousands of fatal car crashes due to distracted drivers. Distracted driving is not only caused from texting & drinking, but from other distractions as well. These distractions include eating, music, children or other passengers in the car, & even putting on makeup or fixing their hair. There are many laws out there that ban texting and drinking while driving to keep people from harm’s way but there are so few people who actually obey the laws.
Research shows that drinking while driving & texting while driving are equally harmful because they both impair the driver’s vision, the driver’s reaction time, & the driver’s concentration & vigilance, all skills needed to prevent millions of accidents, deaths, & injuries every year. There’s ample evidence that shows drunk driving fatalities have definitely decreased in the last 40 yrs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides us with some interesting information, which I have converted into a line graph. My visual aid shows the fast decrease in drunk driving fatalities between 1970 & 2012. They document that there was a significant decrease after 40 yrs due to stricter driving laws & punishment. Now, for the next part of my presentation will explain how alcohol & texting affect a person’s ability to think & see clearly.
The driver’s vision and speed of the car becomes impaired when they look anywhere else but the road, when drunk their eyes are glazed over & bloodshot. Just 1 or 2 drinks in a person’s body affects their nervous system & motor skills. Alcohol slows reaction time & clouds depth perception, vision, sense of touch, coordination, & judgment even when they are not considered legally drunk (Kedjidjian, 1994). Drinking while driving makes people become drowsy which causes people to fall asleep at the wheel or close their eyes for a few seconds every few minutes. All it takes is 1 second of your eyes to be off the road, and there will be an accident (Kolman, 2008). 3 years ago, scientists used a national database to collect detailed demographics and crash information on every accident that had happened in the US between 1999 & 2008. They were studying trends in distracted driving accidents and their relation to cell phone use whether it’s talking, texting, or using the internet. The results showed us that after declining rates of distracted driving fatalities from 1999 to 2005, the rates increased 28% after 2005 when cell phones & texting started getting popular. Distracted driving is becoming a growing hazard for the public, especially teenagers.
2ndly the driver’s reaction time is impaired in several different ways when they are occupied with texting or drinking. Alcohol impairs drivers which causes the driver to speed, not wear a seat belt, not turning on the turn signal, swerve, & have short attention spans (Corte & Sommers, 2005). Corte & Sommers research how alcohol leads to risky behaviors such as drunk & reckless driving and how they can create intervention programs to prevent risky behaviors. People that have been drinking before or during their drive may have bloodshot eyes, blurred, or double vision.
Noting that more than 10,000 Americans die per year due to drunk driving fatalities, government officials promoted technologies, such as an ignition interlock. The driver’s concentration & vigilance are both impaired even if they think they can multi-task. The results of several surveys on distracted driving show that drivers fail to recognize the dangers in distracted driving which include more than just texting on the phone (Hoff, ET. Al, 2013). The results of this study show that 3/4 of adults experience distractions while driving but they believe they can safely operate any motor vehicles while being distracted. This documentation and research has showed that drinking and texting while driving are equally dangerous but texting while driving is becoming the main equivalence of fatalities. While driving & texting both impair a person’s vision, reaction time, & concentration & vigilance, there are some other important aspects to consider in fatalities. The main focus of a driver should be on the road at all times.
Corte, C., & Sommers, M. (2005). Alcohol and risky behaviors. Annual Review Of Nursing Research, 23327-360. Driving while texting six times more dangerous than driving while drunk. Retrieved from