Motor Vehicle Accidents – A New Form of Driving Drunk: Driving While Distracted

Motor Vehicle Accidents – A New Form of Driving Drunk: Driving While Distracted

Over the years there has been a definite change in the ways that drunk drivers are viewed. In the late 1960’s and 1970’s there was a lot less negativity associated with the act of driving drunk, and much of this is evidenced by stories that come from this era. It is often told that police would follow an offending drunk home, allowing them to continue to drive their own car. These small towns across America even had local characters that were more often drunk than not, becoming legends in their own right for doing things such as driving home backwards while intoxicated, even under the watchful eye of the town police. These were funny stories often told to everyone in town, but it was a long time ago.

These stories have basically ended, however, as organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving have brought the problems of driving drunk to the attention of the rest of the country. Most people today find little humor in people driving while drunk and instead would like to see the police arrest them rather than escort them home.

While it is common knowledge that driving after drinking too much can be very dangerous, there are many others that do not know how dangerous it is to drive while you are distracted. Examples of driving distracted include testing while driving, messing with your GPS while behind the wheel, checking email, and even talking to others while on the telephone. These and other types of distracted driving are almost as dangerous as being inebriated.

See also  Routine Maintenance

One of the big problems with distracted driving is that people who otherwise would never consider drinking and then driving are the very people who are likely to do the things that cause them to become distracted drivers. They preach to their kids not to drink and get behind the wheel, but they talk on the phone while driving and even send text messages.

To make matters worse, cars today have many things as “conveniences” that lead to these distractions. This includes gaming systems and televisions, CD players, and cars that talk to you along the way. It is these build in distractions added to those we bring along with us that leads to distracted driving. A parent that would never consider drinking and the driving is all too often the one that is behind the wheel and doing the distracting things, making themselves a dangerous car on the road.

As studies about distracted driving mount, it is evident that these types of drivers are a serious threat on the roads. As of 2009, distracted driving caused the deaths of over 5,800 people. All segments of society are represented, but those under the age of 24 are typically the most likely to be distracted. While some states and cities have laws against being distracted while driving, the problem is that it is not a social stigma yet. Just like drunk driving took educating the public for a time before it became seen as wrong, distracted driving may require similar education before things change.