Welcome back and thanks for joining us again for this discussion about distracted driving in Michigan, and how the stats stack up against drunk driving. If you read our previous article, then you already know that distracted drivers cause way more car crashes than drunk drivers every year, and the numbers are only getting bigger. You’ll also know that while drunk driving gets a lot of bed press (not that we think it shouldn’t), distracted driving doesn’t get the same negative treatment in the public eye, which is a curious thing. So, while we wait for Governor Whitmer to fix the damn roads, here we are.
Cell phone use is by far the biggest culprit!
As we pointed out last time, distracted driving covers a wide range of activities, but texting and cell phone use are probably the biggest problems. As smart devices become more common, and we rely more heavily on them for basics like communication and driving directions, more people find themselves making poor choices behind the wheel. Choices that result in half-typed messages and crumpled cars. Sometimes, tragically, those results include fatalities. But why exactly is texting worse than drunk driving?
Tests have been done to compare drunk drivers, and texting drivers
Drunk drivers (when they’re not so intoxicated that they pass out behind the wheel) are usually looking at the road. Their reaction times are significantly slowed by all the booze sloshing around in their brains, but most of them are at least making an effort to watch the road. Distracted drivers are the opposite. They may be sober, but they aren’t even looking at the road. Their mental and physical energy is being expended on a separate and unrelated task, which means they aren’t paying attention at all.
A test done by Car and Driver reveals this perfectly
Car and Driver did a test where they recorded the response times of drivers who were sending text messages, and those who were intoxicated, when a driver hit the brakes in front of them. According to their evaluations, both drivers had longer response times while reading and sending texts than when driving without any distractions. However, when retested after drinking enough to put them just over the legal limit (.08 in Michigan) response times for both drivers were better when they were drunk, than when they were reading (or sending) texts while sober!
‘Distracted driving’ means so much more than texting
Although texting while driving is a big deal, the term ‘distracted’ simply means you aren’t paying attention. And when you’re navigating a multi-thousand pound chunk of steel down roads full of pedestrians and other drivers, paying attention is critical! So people who drive while fishing around under their seats for a dropped phone, changing radio stations, eating take out food, and putting on mascara, are all liable for a significant number of car crashes as well. Even just turning to yell at misbehaving kids in the back seat can end up costing you a life.
Pay attention when you’re driving, and stay sober!
As you can see, while drunk driving is no joke and costs thousands of people their lives every year, distracted driving is just as bad (or worse!). So if we’ve got any advice for you it’s this: Pay attention when you’re behind the wheel, and stay sober! However, if you happen to screw up and need help here in Michigan, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245 (866 7No Jail). Our aggressive DUI defense attorneys have decades of experience helping the people of Michigan fight drunk driving and drugged driving charges.