Irresponsible driving is an extremely serious problem that exists in contemporary society and leads to the deaths of millions of individuals all around the globe. Even though car accidents are not as widely covered in the media as airplane crashes, they happen much more often and kill a bigger number of people. It is usually believed that adverse consequences are largely brought by drunk driving. While being under the influence of alcohol people lose their concentration, have a hard time controlling their actions and moves, and experience a high level of excitement. Therefore, driving in this condition is prohibited and considered to be dangerous. However, there are many other ways of driving irresponsibly and putting the health of those on the road at risk. Distracted driving involves various inappropriate activities that can become the cause of a tragedy. For this reason, the following research paper will prove that distracted driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving by providing a few supportive arguments.
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Distracted Driving Definition and Examples
Distracted driving is one of the most serious problems that is caused by a variety of irresponsible actions which have become more and more relevant in recent years. This type of driving can be defined as any activity that distracts a person from paying attention to the road and ensuring the safety of all passengers (Distracted Driving). Such practices include talking or texting on the phone, eating or drinking, listening to loud music, actively communicating with other people in a vehicle, and watching videos or movies (Distracted Driving). It is suggested that, among all the examples provided, texting is the most severe distraction. While typing a message on the phone individuals completely shift their attention from the road to their mobile device for at least five seconds (Distracted Driving). This example can be compared to “driving the length of an entire football field with eyes closed” (Distracted Driving). Consequently, people that engage in distracted driving do not have any control over the situation on the road.
It should also be stated that with the appearance of new technologies and the advancement of car systems it is harder to be focused on driving rather than entertaining oneself. People can speak on their phones anywhere and anytime, send animated texts, emojis, and voice messages, and deliver short videos with just a few clicks. In addition, car developers create professional sound and video systems, which allows to do anything while driving, ranging from singing to favorite musicians to watching documentary films. It is obvious that all these opportunities distract drivers from their main responsibilities – control the situation on the road and protect both their life and the health of other passengers. According to statistical data, in 2018 distracted driving took more that 2,800 lives of U.S. citizens (Distracted Driving). These numbers indicate that the situation is serious and people have to pay more attention to being responsible and focused drivers.
As it was already mentioned, official statistics show that the numbers of individuals dying as a result of distracted driving are high. However, it is also essential to provide more facts and numbers associated with this issue in order to prove that it exists and leads to various detrimental consequences. One of the main problems that specialists notice is that distracted driving is underreported, but investigations of car crashes show that cell phone use alone is responsible for 27% of all accidents (Learn the Facts About Distracted Driving). Furthermore, teens are considered to be the most irresponsible car users, and 58% of all deaths caused by distracted driving are teen deaths (Learn the Facts About Distracted Driving). Since young individuals are usually not experienced enough or use vehicles for fun and entertainment, “the fatal crash rate for teens is 3 times greater than for drivers age 20 and over” (Learn the Facts About Distracted Driving). Therefore, understanding and caring about the issue of distracted driving can help to save lives of young people.
A big amount of data also exists on the topic of cell phone use during driving. For instance, it is proved that telephone users are 5 times more likely to be the victims of a car crash then those who choose not to use their devices (Learn the Facts about Distracted Driving). Text messaging, which is one of the dangerous activities, increases the risk of getting into a car accident by 23 times (Learn the Facts about Distracted Driving). While gaining knowledge about the statistics and finding these numbers, it is important to remember that irresponsible drivers do not only put their life at risk but also endanger other people in the car. Thus, the official statistical data proves that the problem of distracted driving exists, deteriorates, and leads to a number of adverse ramifications.
Effects on the Driver
One of the main proofs that distracted driving is as dangerous as drunk driving is its detrimental effect on a person’s concentration and attention. It is common knowledge that, while being under the influence of alcohol, there is a decrease in visual functions and the ability to perform several tasks at the same time. These activities include looking at the road, holding the wheel, changing the lights, and distinguishing pedestrians. Furthermore, drunk individuals have a hard time determining their location and understanding which direction they should continue their movement. Similarly, when an individual engages in distracted driving, they cannot do all the mentioned activities. Since they shift their attention to a different matter, it becomes much harder to adapt to challenges on the road.
There are three different components that have a negative impact of a distracted driver. The first one is manual which gets activated when a person takes their hands off from the wheel, not controlling their movement (Ankin Law Office LLC). The second element is visual which involves watching at the phone, media system, or other passengers rather than paying attention to the road (Ankin Law Office LLC). Finally, the third one is cognitive which has an effect when an individual’s mind focuses on something not related to driving (Ankin Law Office LLC). Therefore, when engaging in distracted driving a person loses as much concentration as when driving under alcohol.
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Distracted driving can happen at any time of the day, meaning that it can lead to the deaths of more people rather than drunk driving that usually happens at night. The appearance of new technologies gives people a possibility to get distracted at any time. For this reason, car accidents due to distracted driving can happen during rush hours and lead to adverse consequences for a large number of individuals (The Difference Between Distracted and Drunk Driving). At the same time, drunk driving becomes the cause of accidents between midnight and 3 am (The Difference Between Distracted and Drunk Driving). It is necessary to mention that in the evening and late at night, the roads are usually less crowded. In case a drunk driver loses concentration and fails to manage the situation appropriately, it is very unlikely that he will kill or injure many people (The Difference Between Distracted and Drunk Driving). Thus, dues to the likeliness of happening at any time of the day, distracted drivers appear to be more dangerous than those under the influence of alcohol.
In addition, the government pays very little attention to distracted driving which increases its probability. When talking about serious car accidents, people usually refer to crashes caused by drunk individuals who were not able to concentrate and lost control of the vehicle. For this reason, the number of lives that were taken by drunk driving and the amount of damaged property encourage governments to establish strict rules and create specific documents (The Difference Between Distracted and Drunk Driving). These official records prohibit driving under influence and determine prison sentences for those who violate this regulation (The Difference Between Distracted and Drunk Driving). At the same time, there are no strict rules associated with distracted driving. Authorities consider it to be less dangerous and fail to develop harsh laws (The Difference Between Distracted and Drunk Driving). Therefore, this tendency leads to people being indifferent towards their driving style, leading to more accidents and deaths.
Challenges Related to Distracted Driving
One of the challenges associated with distracted driving that makes it even more dangerous is the fact that it is harder to prevent. In comparison to drunk driving, sober individuals and their passengers are usually unaware of the situations and issues that can arise on the road. For instance, an emergency work call can happen or someone in the car might start feeling bad. In case the driver switches their attention to one of these matters, it means that they unconsciously start to engage in distracted driving (Delbridge). For this reason, while having no knowledge of the unexpected circumstances and complications, individuals may experience troubles when adapting to the situation and having control of the vehicle (Delbridge). At the same time, people that are under the influence of alcohol can understand that their condition is not appropriate for driving and choose another means of transport. Their friends and relatives can also contribute to the prevention of an accident by helping to make the right decision.
The difficulty of distracted driving prevention is also based on the idea that there is only one way that will secure the driver and the passengers perfectly – focus on the road only. In case individuals are interested in total control of the situation, they have to turn their cell phones off and avoid communicating with other people in the care or listening to the music, radio, or a podcast. It is proved that simply having both hands on the wheel does not guarantee that the driver will not make a mistake or will adjust to a challenge on the road (Delbridge). All the attention has to be on driving because even if its small percentage shifts to something else, the performance will suffer. Since individuals tend to be distracted by different events and situations, it is extremely hard to always be in control. Hence, there is a risk of becoming the cause of a car accident anyways.
Overall, distracted driving is a negative concept that can lead to a number of adverse consequences. There is a significant amount of statistical data which proves that this type of driving has to be managed and receive considerable attention from the government. It can be stated that distracted driving is as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol because it has the same influences on people’s concentration and adaptability. In addition, it is more likely to happen and harder to prevent. Therefore, the presented paper discussed the topic of distracted driving and proved that it has the same amount of negative impact as drunk driving.
Ankin Law Office LLC. “Drunk vs. Distracted Driving: Which is Worse?” HG.org, 2020. Web.
Delbridge, Emily. “Causes and Effects of Distracted Driving.” the balance, 2020. Web.
“Distracted Driving.” NHTSA, 2020.
“Learn the Facts About Distracted Driving.” EndDD, 2020.
“The Difference Between Distracted and Drunk Driving: Which Is More Dangerous?” Venditti Law Group, 2020.