Endangering Lives: Drunk Driving And Texting While Driving
Getting behind the wheel of the car while intoxicated and texting while driving are pretty much the two worst behaviors a driver could possibly choose to engage in while operating a motor vehicle. Both endanger the driver’s life, and the lives of others on the road.
28 people in the United States die daily in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. Alcohol-related crashes cost more than $44 billion annually.
The risk of being involved in a crash is greater for young people than for older people. Of the drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2014 that had a BAC level of .08% or higher, three out of every 10 were between the ages of 21 and 24. Those ages 25 to 34 saw a 29% fatality rate, and those 35 to 44 saw a 24% fatality rate. Motorcyclists are also very much at risk. Of motorcycles killed in fatal crashes in 2014, 29% had BACs of .08% or greater.
Unfortunately, it appears that repeat offenders are also an issue when it comes to impaired driving. Drivers with a BAC of .08% or higher involved in fatal crashes were seven times more likely to have a prior conviction for DWI when compared with drivers with no alcohol in their system.
With a BAC of .08%, muscle coordination becomes poor, affecting balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and hearing. Your awareness diminishes, making it more difficult to detect surrounding danger. Judgment, self-control, reasoning, and memory are impaired. It would be difficult to concentrate while driving, and you would likely suffer from short-term memory loss. Your perception would be impaired, and it would be difficult to control speed. You would also suffer from reduced information processing capability.
Texting And Driving
Each day in the United States, over 8 people are killed and 1,161 are injured in crashes that involve a distracted driver. Distracted driving is considered driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving. There are three main types of distraction. Visual distractions take your eyes off the road. Manual distractions take your hands off the wheel. Cognitive distractions take your mind off driving. Texting and driving is especially dangerous because it requires visual, manual, and cognitive distractions to perform. At 55 miles per hour, your eyes leave the road long enough to cover an entire football field (approximately 100 yards).
3,154 people were killed and 424,000 people were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2013. Drivers under the age of 20 have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes. In 2013, students who had driven in the past 30 days were surveyed. Of those students, more than 40 percent admitted to sending a text or email while driving.
Many states are enacting law, including banning cellphone usage while driving in an effort to help raise awareness and prevent distracted driving from occurring.