Don't Text and Drive Blog

Why Is Texting and Driving Worse Than Drinking and Driving?

Posted by Robert Edgin on Sun, Jun 26, 2011 @ 10:39 AM

You already know that texting and driving is dangerous, but why is it worse than drinking and driving?

Drinking and driving is bad, very bad, but a study conducted by Car and Drivertexting while driving resized 600 magazine shows that texting and driving impacts a drivers abilities far more than driving drunk! How can that be?

Before we get to the Car and Driver test results, let's answer the why question. When you are driving impaired, your reaction times are delayed because your brain is not firing at full speed. However, you are still watching the road and concentrating on your driving. You're paying attention to what's in front of you in hopes of making it home safe. You're doing the complete opposite when you're texting!

Texting and driving steals your focus and forces you to concentrate on something other than the road. Although you're brain is not impaired, you're reaction time is slowed because you're not looking at the road! It's hard to react to brake lights and road hazards (like other cars or people) if you're not watching where you are going.

As you'll see from the results below, the difference between drinking and texting is very obvious. Although it seems like texting only takes your eyes off the road for a few seconds (the average is 5 seconds per text) which should not be that big of a deal, the fact is that 5 seconds at 50 mph is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field. Would you close your eyes and drive for 5 seconds? You do every time you text while driving!

Here are the official results from Car and Driver magazine's study:

"The results, though not surprising, were eye-opening. Intern Brown’s baseline reaction time at 35 mph of 0.45 second worsened to 0.57 while reading a text, improved to 0.52 while writing a text, and returned almost to the baseline while impaired by alcohol, at 0.46. At 70 mph, his baseline reaction was 0.39 second, while the reading (0.50), texting (0.48), and drinking (0.50) numbers were similar. But the averages don’t tell the whole story. Looking at Jordan’s slowest reaction time at 35 mph, he traveled an extra 21 feet (more than a car length) before hitting the brakes while reading and went 16 feet longer while texting. At 70 mph, a vehicle travels 103 feet every second, and Brown’s worst reaction time while reading at that speed put him about 30 feet (31 while typing) farther down the road versus 15 feet while drunk.

texting and driving statistics

Alterman fared much, much worse. While reading a text and driving at 35 mph, his average baseline reaction time of 0.57 second nearly tripled, to 1.44 seconds. While texting, his response time was 1.36 seconds. These figures correspond to an extra 45 and 41 feet, respectively, before hitting the brakes. His reaction time after drinking averaged 0.64 second and, by comparison, added only seven feet. The results at 70 mph were similar: Alterman’s response time while reading a text was 0.35 second longer than his base performance of 0.56 second, and writing a text added 0.68 second to his reaction time. But his intoxicated number increased only 0.04 second over the base score, to a total of 0.60 second.

As with the younger driver, Alterman’s slowest reaction times were a grim scenario. He went more than four seconds before looking up while reading a text message at 35 mph and over three and a half seconds while texting at 70 mph. Even in the best of his bad reaction times while reading or texting, Alterman traveled an extra 90 feet past his baseline performance; in the worst case, he went 319 feet farther down the road. Moreover, his two-hands-on-the-phone technique resulted in some serious lane drifting."

For the complete Car and Driver article, visit and take a look for yourself.

Commit to being a text free driver and making the roads safer for everyone. Sign the text free driving pledge today at and encourage your friends and family to do the same.

Tags: don't text and drive, texting and driving statistics, texting thumb bands, texting while driving, drinking and driving

New Texting and Driving Laws Have Increased Texting Accidents

Posted by Robert Edgin on Sat, Jun 04, 2011 @ 11:02 AM

It doesn't make sense. The numbers seem to be backwards but it really is true. State laws banning texting and driving are actually increasing the number of texting related accidents!

no texting while driving resized 600

By now, everyone should know how dangerous it is to text while driving. States have certainly figured it out and most have passed laws to make it illegal to text while driving. So why is it that the number of accidents is on the rise?

There are two major factors in the increased accidents, but first let's look at the findings from the Highway Loss Data Institute:

*"HLDI researchers calculated rates of collision claims for vehicles up to 9 years old during the months immediately before and after driver texting was banned in California (January 2009), Louisiana (July 2008), Minnesota (August 2008), and Washington (January 2008). Comparable data were collected in nearby states where texting laws weren't substantially changed during the time span of the study. This controlled for possible changes in collision claim rates unrelated to the bans — changes in the number of miles driven due to the economy, seasonal changes in driving patterns, etc.

"Texting bans haven't reduced crashes at all. In a perverse twist, crashes increased in 3 of the 4 states we studied after bans were enacted. It's an indication that texting bans might even increase the risk of texting for drivers who continue to do so despite the laws," says Adrian Lund, president of both HLDI and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Month-to-month fluctuations in the rates of collision claims in HLDI's 4 study states with texting bans for all drivers didn't change much from before to after the bans were enacted. Nor did the patterns differ much from those in nearby states that didn't ban texting for all drivers during the study period. To the extent that the crash patterns did change in the study states, they went up, not down, after the bans took effect. Increases varied from 1 percent more crashes in Washington to about 9 percent more in Minnesota (the result in Washington isn't statistically significant).

  Young mottexting and driving safety blogorists are more likely than older people to text while driving. In all 4 of the study states, crashes increased among drivers younger than 25 after the all-driver bans took effect. In California, Louisiana, and Washington, the increases for young drivers were greater than for drivers 25 and older. The largest crash increase of all (12 percent) following enactment of a texting ban was among young drivers in California."

Two Major Factors Increasing Accidents:

  1. Texting is on the rise! The number of people texting, and texting while driving, has risen tremendously over the past few years. Texting has become the preferred method of communication for most Americans and the number of texts sent per month numbers in the trillions! Too many drivers view giving up texting while driving as giving up their main source of keeping in touch and communicating with friends and family so they ignore the no texting laws.
  2. Phones are hidden to avoid fines! In states that have banned texting while driving, people are keeping their phones out of site to avoid being ticketed and fined. They are NOT texting less, they are just keeping their phones low (below the steering wheel or on their lap) so it is not seen by others. This makes texting and driving that much more dangerous because the drivers' eyes are off the road for an even longer amount of time!

While state bans are a good start to slowing (and eventually stopping) the number of texting related accidents, what is truly needed is a change in behavior. Laws and bans are designed to encourage the right behavior but drivers' attitude and behavior has not changed yet.

Until drivers put away their phones when they get into their cars and make the committment to be text free while driving, texting and driving accidents, injuries and deaths will continue to rise.

*Data from:

Tags: don't text and drive, no texting while driving, texting and driving accidents, texting and driving bans