Studies have shown that the average driver takes 4.6 seconds to read a text message. When driving at 55 miles per hour, that is the equivalent of driving the entire length of a football field while driving blindfolded. Switching focus to the cell phone completely blocks out the rest of your surroundings, inhibiting your ability to stay in your lane or notice others coming into your lane.
Slow to React
The average person takes 0.54 seconds to brake on the highway when unimpaired. When legally drunk, the braking action does not occur until you have traveled another 4 feet. Compare that to reading an email, which adds another 36 feet before the driver brakes. That's scary to think about, since even on the highway there is likely another car within at least 30 feet of your own car. If the car in front of you brakes heavily, you're looking at a guaranteed accident. Texting is even worse: A driver sending a text will brake 70 later than an unimpaired driver.
Inability to Maintain Safe Distance
Texting and driving has shown to actually be worse than drunk driving for drivers trying to maintain a safe distance between them and the car in front of them. Drunk drivers react slowly, but texting drivers are often not even looking at the road. Cantini Law Group Accident and Disability Lawyers, a car accident law firm in Halifax, states that their clients often report that the person who hit them was not paying attention to the road or to the other drivers. People tend to get rear-ended when other drivers are too busy texting to look up and make sure they are a safe distance away from the car in front of them.
Leading Death Among Teens
Last but not least, texting while driving has replaced drunk driving as the leading cause of death of teens in the United States. This is in part due to the everyday activity of texting versus the once-in-a-while activity of underage drinking. Teens are just more likely to text than to drink. Despite ad campaigns, teens continue to text and drive.
Texting and driving is a serious epidemic that affects all drivers, whatever the age. While teens are the primary target of ad campaigns, polls have shown that adults are just as guilty of texting while driving. Drunk driving is still a serious issue, but texting and driving needs the attention of all drivers in order to put a stop to the epidemic.