Bring An Equalizer to the Fight. Choose a Firm That Was Created to Advocate for Victims.

Is Talking On a Cell Phone As Dangerous As Drunk Driving?

Distracted driving and drunk driving have both been shown to significantly impair driving ability and increase the risk of a serious crash. Yet most Americans do not treat the high-risk driving behaviors the same. At any given daylight moment, approximately 660,000 U.S. drivers are using cell phones or other electronic devices while driving.

As California personal injury attorneys, we often see the tragic results of distracted driving firsthand. To drive home the point, below are a few surprising facts about distracted driving:

  • In 2013, 3,154 Americans were killed in distracted driving crashes.
  • Approximately 424,000 people were injured in distracted driving accidents the same year, which represents an increase over 2012.
  • Ten percent of drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash.

According to David Strayer, Ph.D., director of the University of Utah's Applied Cognition Lab, many drivers continue to use their cell phones behind the wheel because they believe that they can get away with it. “You don't instantly crash on the road while talking on the cell phone. And you don't instantly crash when you're drunk, either,” Strayer says. “In the long run, if you do it enough, you're going to put yourself at risk.”

As detailed by EHS Today, Strayer also highlights that many drivers are over-confident in their ability to drive safely while texting or talking on a cell phone. “We have a tendency to overrate our own abilities,” Strayer explains. “We think we're better-than-average drivers and we think we're better-than-average multitaskers.”

In a study conducted at the University of Utah, Streyer confirmed that distracted driving should not be taken lightly and can be just as deadly as driving impaired. “We directly compared drunk drivers and cell phone drivers and found that cell phones were every bit as bad, if not worse, as drunk driving,” Strayer explains.

The study revealed that the driving abilities of cell phone users are akin to drivers with the legal blood-alcohol limit of 0.08 percent. The researchers specifically found that cell phone users drove more slowly, were 9 percent slower to deploy the brakes, displayed 24 percent more variation in following distance, were 19 percent slower to return to normal speed after braking and were more likely to crash.

The bottom line is that using a cell phone while driving compromises your safety as well as the safety of other drivers on the road, just like drinking and driving. Therefore, as San Diego injury lawyers, we urge all of our readers to think twice before engaging in either activity.

If you or someone you care about has been seriously injured in a California distracted driving accident, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego personal injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.