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Distracted Drivers - Cell Phone Usage Is As Bad As Drunk Driving

Robert Karns

A study done at the University of Utah by psychologists showed scientifically that distracted drivers using cell phones were as impaired as drunk drivers.

The study showed that cell phone usage is as bad as driving drunk, whether the cell phone is handheld or hands free users are as impaired equally as drunken drivers.

The study was conducted by using 40 participants that drove a driving simulator 4 times. The first time while undistracted, the second using a handheld cell phone, the third using a hands free cell phone and the fourth while intoxicated to the level of 0.08% blood alcohol level after drinking vodka and orange juice. The participants followed a simulated pace car that braked intermittently.

Usage of the handheld cell phone and the hands free cell phone caused equal amounts of distraction and impairment with no significant difference.

It was found in the study that both intoxicated drivers and cell phone drivers performed differently from the undistracted drivers. Drivers using a cell phone exhibited a delay in their response to events in the driving scenario and were more likely to be involved in traffic accidents. Drivers in the alcohol condition exhibited a more aggressive driving style, following closer to the vehicle immediately in front of them, necessitating braking with greater force. With respect to traffic safety, the data indicated that the impairments associated with cell phone drivers maybe as great as those commonly observed with intoxicated drivers.

The study indicated that impairments associated with using a cell phone while driving can be as profound as those associated with driving while drunk. One of the authors to the study stated the obvious and said the study does not mean that people should start driving drunk, the study means that driving while talking on a cell phone is as bad as or maybe worse than driving drunk, which is completely unacceptable and cannot be tolerated by society.

Distracted driving is an extremely dangerous condition and causes very serious injuries and consequences.

Drunk driving causes personal liability to the drunk driver, a possibility of punitive damages or punishment damages, and can give rise to liquor liability against the establishment that served the alcohol.

People using cell phones while driving causing injuries will have personal liability, and in addition, if business is being conducted on the cell phone can give rise to liability against the business involved.


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