Texting and Driving is More Dangerous than Drunk Driving

girl texting behind wheel

The number of drunk driving deaths in the 1980s led to the formation of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been an equivalent movement to combat distracted driving, especially texting while driving. Anyone who reaches for a cell phone to read or compose a text is a clear and present danger to others on the road. It is not unusual for Nevada motorists and pedestrians to suffer serious injuries when a texting motorist slams into them.

If you were hurt in an accident, contact Ladah Law Firm. One of our texting and driving lawyers can review the facts to determine whether you can sue.

How Does Alcohol Impair a Driver?

Nevada is right to criminalize drunk driving. Alcohol is a known depressant, which can result in the following:

  • Blurred vision—a motorist won’t see someone stepping in front of the car or a red light. Consequently, they crash into someone.
  • Delayed reflexes—a driver might see a person or car up ahead but not be able to respond in time.
  • Fatigue—too much alcohol makes it more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel.
  • Impaired coordination—a motorist will struggle to complete complex maneuvers, like turning a wheel using both hands when intoxicated.

Unsurprisingly, Nevada sets a legal limit for motorists and aggressively prosecutes drunk drivers.

How Does Texting Impair a Driver?

Reading a text or sending a text also impairs drivers:

  • Visual distraction—the driver is looking at the phone, not the road in front of them. Consequently, they might not even see someone in front of the vehicle.
  • Manual distraction—typically, a driver is holding the phone with one hand to read the message. If they are composing a text, they might remove both hands. As a result, it’s harder for the driver to turn the wheel quickly.
  • Cognitive distraction—research has shown that motorists remain mentally distracted for nearly half a minute after reading a text. Cognitive distraction reduces the ability to make quick judgments.

Nevada does have a texting and driving law, but it carries much less severe penalties than drunk driving.

Which is Worse: Drunk Driving or Texting and Driving?

If you look at the law, you would assume drunk driving is more dangerous. After all, the criminal punishments are steeper. You can lose your license, pay fines, and possibly end up in jail. By contrast, someone stopped for texting and driving will pay a small fine for a first offense.

However, research has shown that texting and driving is more dangerous—a lot more dangerous.

For example, one study performed by Car & Driver magazine compared the reaction times of drivers to a light mounted on the windshield which was meant to simulate the brake light of a car in front. When the light turned red, the driver was supposed to hit the brakes. Drivers performed the test while driving normally, while intoxicated, and while reading or composing a text message.

One driver, 37 years old, stopped in .57 seconds normally while going 35 miles per hour. But his reaction time increased to 1.36 seconds while sending a text message. While reading a message, his time increased to 1.44 seconds—almost three times as slow as when he wasn’t texting. By contrast, his time while intoxicated was .64 seconds, which is fairly close to his reaction time while driving sober.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has also found that you are six times as likely to be involved in a crash when texting compared to driving while drunk. Why?

We think these are the major reasons:

  • Texting takes someone’s eyes completely off the road. By contrast, a drunk driver is usually looking at the road, unless they are asleep. Blurred vision is probably better than no vision.
  • Texting removes a hand from the steering wheel. Even when drunk and impaired, many motorists are still hanging onto the wheel with two hands.
  • Cognitive distraction is much greater for texting. Some people get involved in their conversations, and it’s harder to “snap back” and process what is happening around you.

Of course, both drunk driving and texting while driving are dangerous. We cannot emphasize that enough. We just wish Nevada treated both equally as dangerous.

Call Ladah Law after a Drunk Driving or Texting and Driving Crash

Our car accident lawyers can assist anyone hurt in a crash seek compensation against a drunk or distracted driver. You should not suffer financially when someone dangerous hits you. Call us today, (702) 252-0055 to schedule a consultation with a member of our personal injury team.