While most Cobb County drivers recognize that cell phone use while driving is hazardous, fewer appreciate the full extent of the danger posed by text messaging. Many public safety organizations have begun referring to texting while driving as “the new DUI,” but the practice does not yet generate the same sense of moral outrage as drunk driving. It is somewhat hard to understand why this is the case because recent studies suggest text messaging while driving may cause as many accidents and fatalities as driving while intoxicated. According to a study conducted by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, drivers that text message are six times more likely to be involved in a car accident than those who are not texting.

While all types of cell phone use while driving create dangerous driving distractions and pose an increased risk of collisions, research conducted by the University of Utah suggest that text messaging while driving poses an especially dangerous driving hazard. The researchers conducted a series of studies designed to evaluate the impact of text messaging on driving and car accident rates. The researchers found that driver’s who texted while operating a driving simulator were involved in more collisions, displayed slower braking times when responding to brake lights and exhibited impaired lateral and forward motion in the vehicle simulator.

The researchers also concluded that the difference between driving impairment when texting as opposed to talking on a cell phone is linked to the difference in the way drivers process information. When drivers talk on the telephone they split their attention between talking and driving so they alternately shift the priority of their attention between the activities. Texting drivers are not able to divide their attention so when they are texting their entire attention is focused on reading, writing or sending text messages as opposed to dividing their attention between the tasks of driving and talking on a cell phone. The study found that the reaction time for drivers applying the brakes decreased thirty percent when drivers were texting while decreasing only nine percent when talking on a cell phone.

Georgia prohibits all drivers from texting while driving but does not prohibit experienced adult drivers from talking on a cell phone. This distinction may be justified based on these types of studies that indicate text messaging is more dangerous. A University of Utah study concluded that drivers who are engaged in text messaging exhibit more signs of impairment while driving than drivers with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent, which is the threshold at which a driver is considered legally intoxicated.

It is estimated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that almost 5,500 people per year are killed and another 450,000 people are injured in distracted driving collisions. If you or your loved one has been injured in a Cobb County distracted driving accident involving a driver who is texting rather than concentrating on his or her driving, our experienced Cobb County Distracted Driving Attorneys represent our clients with diligence and compassion.

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