Is Texting and Driving as bad as Drinking and Driving

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9 March 2016

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There are many dangers when both drinking while driving and texting while driving. In this essay the two will be compared and contrasted to find why people do them even with the dangerous consequences. Drivers think they can text while driving and also drink while driving because they think they can get away with it because nothing has affected them in the past while doing it. Michael Austin states, “Texting, also known as SMS (for short message service), is on the rise, up from 9.8 billion messages a month in December ’05 to 110.4 billion in December ’08”. What does it mean to all drivers to text and drive, or even drink and drive? Why would somebody text and drive? Why would somebody drink and drive? Are the consequences great enough to make a change? Driving is already dangerous when the driver isn’t impaired, so when they add the risk of being impaired it increases their chances of getting hurt or damaging their car. Not only could they kill themselves, but they could also kill somebody else and that’s not fair to the other people that are doing nothing wrong if it isn’t their fault. Drivers may want to pay close attention when they have their children because if they are texting while driving or drinking while drive when their children are in the car, the children will pick up the habits that are being influenced and think that it is okay. Larry Copeland states in USA today, although they’re otherwise protective of their young children, the survey finds, 78% of mothers with children under age 2 acknowledge talking on the phone while driving with their babies; 26% say they text or check their e-mail (Larry Copeland, 2013).

What it means to text while driving is that the driver is on their phone emailing, texting, or searching the web while their attention should be on the road aware of their surroundings. All drivers should constantly be focused on the road and other cars instead of their phones. But is texting while driving as bad as drinking while driving? What it means to drink while driving is that the driver has possession and is consuming alcohol while operating a motor vehicle at the same time. Although they are both different they have one thing in common, they both impair the driver. Micheal Austin states, “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”. A huge difference between the two is that when a driver drinks they are constantly impaired as they are driving. But when a driver is texting and driving there are usually impaired for less than a minute. According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field. Also a texting driver is 23 times more likely to get into an accident than a non-texting driver.” (NHTSA, n.d). Even though texting and driving and drinking while driving are very dangerous one can be more harmful than the other at times.

Everybody has received a phone call, email or text while driving one time or another. As soon as the driver gets the notification that somebody is trying to reach them they feel the urge to check their phone. Our phones have become a major addiction and people cannot resist the temptation to check their phones every minute they get. A driver feels like it won’t matter if they just happen to look down at their phone for a moment as they take their attention off of the road. Nothing has happened before as they’ve done it many times, so why would something happen now? But little do they know it could impact their lives in many ways. According to, only 60% or more have admitted to texting and driving when the results are closer to 80% in reality (, 2011). There may be more than one reason why people feel like it is okay to drink in drive. One of those reasons may be that they are so impaired that they aren’t aware of the dangers of getting behind the wheel. In some situations a driver could get pulled over by a police officer and he would give a breathalyzer test that the driver would most likely fail. Then the driver would be taken away to jail in hand cuffs and treated like a criminal.

Another reason is that the driver feels as if they can drink as much as they would like and still be able to drive because they have done it in the past. Also drivers don’t want to feel intimidated by the alcohol in their system; they believe they are still capable of doing the same things they did when they weren’t under the influence. After you’re put in jail you will have to face a judge or jury and depending on your alcohol level you’ll be sentenced. If it’s okay to drink and drive, is it okay to text and drive? Neither option is okay. But people feel as if texting and driving is a lot more minor then drinking in driving. Drivers look at driving as a dangerous thing already and most think adding alcohol to the equation makes it more dangerous. But is it worse than drinking and driving? Teenagers and adults don’t think so. Drivers feel as if they can hide their phone when they are texting or talking on it and the police officer will not see them or take the time to pull them over. Especially since the consequences aren’t that great. The current texting fine is around $150, if you bump that up to about $300 I’m sure people would be more careful. Also having insurance nowadays is a MUST. If insurance companies decided to stop covering these crashes I’m sure they would decrease. In both situations drivers feel they have the ability to drive while taking these actions even though they are wrong and a danger to all other drivers.

Regardless of these situations a responsible driver should never drive impaired in any way. Texting while driving and drinking while driving both have their down falls. And no responsible driver should ever take part in either action. Drivers think they can get away with a quick text or a little alcohol while driving because it may have not affected them in the past. They aren’t aware of the true danger and consequences of these actions when things go horribly wrong. In my essay I hit three main points; what it means to do these things, followed by the reasons people do it, and also the consequences of doing it. In the end the roads are only as safe as we make them.


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"Is Texting and Driving as bad as Drinking and Driving" StudyScroll, 9-Mar-2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 9-Dec-2023]

StudyScroll. (2016). Is Texting and Driving as bad as Drinking and Driving. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 9-Dec-2023]

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