LOS ANGELES TIMES article by Michael Fumento illustrates why drivers who text are more dangerous than those who drive under the influence (DUI). Studies show that texting while driving is more perilous than drinking and driving. A 2009 study conducted by Car and Driver Magazine using two of its staffers, concluded that a legally drunk driver responded to sudden breaking better than a driver reading an E-mail, and significantly better than a driver who was texting. Participants in a 2007 Harris Interactive poll illustrate people’s disregard for the laws, despite being in favor of banning the activity. Another study conducted at Virginia Tech, show that texting is 17 times more hazardous than driving and talking on the phone.
Applicable California law
The effectiveness of laws intended to deal with the problem of texting while was addressed at the Transportation Department’s Summit in September. In California, penalties are insignificant as there is almost no enforcement ( California Vehicle Code 23123 and 23124 ). A first offence is a $20 fine, and $50 for subsequence violations, as compared to DUI violations that carry jail sentences, license suspension, and fines up to a $1000 for first time offences. The release of the results of two pilot programs by the Department of Transportation in Connecticut and New York, show that a combination of public service announcements and vigilance by police officers had a significant impact on reducing texting while driving.
Education, especially direct at young inexperienced drivers, as well as implementation of greater penalties, are key to deterring texting while driving. Serious injuries and wrongful death arising out of auto accidents, bus accidents, motorcycle accidents, or any accident involving distracted drivers can be avoided and are far too common. Talking to an experienced personal injury attorney promptly after an accident is key.