Oh man have I been guilty of this one in the past, but I’ve decided to turn over a new leaf.
Several studies have attempted to compare the dangers of texting while driving with driving under the influence. One such study was conducted by Car and Driver magazine in June 2009. The study used two drivers in real cars and messured reaction-times to the onset of a light on the windshield. The study compared the reaction times and distances of the subjects while reading a text message, replying to the text message, and impaired with alcohol. The study showed that at 35 mph, reading a text message decreased the reaction time the most, 0.12 seconds for the first driver and 0.87 seconds for the second. Impaired driving at the same speed resulted in an increase of 0.01 and 0.07 seconds respectively. In terms of stopping distances for a driver going 70 mph, these times were estimated to mean:
Unimpaired: .54 seconds to brake
Legally drunk: add 4 feet
Reading e-mail: add 36 feet
Sending a text: add 70 feet
I would never get behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated, and yet, every time I read or send a text message or email while driving, I’m actually a lot more dangerous behind the wheel than if I was legally drunk. This paradox just doesn’t fly with me anymore. I’ve got to stop. Continue reading N.U.T. #2 – I don’t text or email while driving.