Driving Under the Influence of Technology

Driving home from school one evening your cell phone starts buzzing at you with the latest text from your girlfriend. You know she had a meeting with her professor after class and truly want to know what happened...but should you check your messages? Should you attempt to text her back while driving at interstate speeds?

Nearly half of young adults aged 18-24 would answer these questions with a "yes". During a survey of Americans, Findlaw.com found that drivers between this age were more likely to have sent a text message, an instant message or email while driving. In the age group of 25-34, almost 27% admitted to these dangerous driving behaviors.

"The potential legal implications of texting while driving go far beyond the possibility of a mere traffic violation," said Stephanie Rahlfs, an attorney at FindLaw.com. "In the case of a traffic accident, proof that the driver was texting while driving may be used to help prove liability for the accident, even in states that do not ban texting while driving."

Already four states, Alaska, Minnesota, New Jersey and Washington, have made it illegal to text while driving. One driver, aged 25 who didn't wish her name to be used, stated "As long as I'm not texting beside a cop car and I'm following the rules of the road, I don't care if it's illegal", and while many share the views of this anonymous texting addict, most don't realize the danger they are putting themselves and others in.

Like drivers who are impaired due to drugs or alcohol, those who text and chat while driving are more likely to miss a light changing from green to red, they are more likely to swerve into another lane without realizing it and ultimately are more likely to take another's life due to a traffic accident simply because they needed to hear the latest gossip from their friends.

What do you think? Should texting while driving be illegal everywhere? What about just simply talking on cell phones? Do you drive while under the influence of technology? Tell us about it and let us hear your opinions!

Link: FindLaw.com Traffic Ticket Center

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30 Comments

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While I don't drive, my Dad uses his phone in the car all the time (With a hands free kit).

He needs to be talking to people so he can do his job quite alot so if he's able to get some work done while driving, sounds like a good idea to me. Besides, I think he's so used to it by now it's not likely to impair his driving.

I've never really noticed many people using their phone in the car here in the UK though.. since it's illegal. I don't really know the spec but I wouldn't use it in the car myself anyway.

I wonder how many people, who posted here about how wrong it is to use their cell while driving, has done it this past week....

...but its ok, because it was an emergency

I tried it once a while back while on the highway with nobody else around, it was too big of a distraction to even read the message so I didn't continue with it. I always hate it when I get stuck in traffic behind someone who is actively (and obviously) using a phone because they drive very eratically or slow down to compensate for their reduced concentration. That is quite dangerous!

I agree. We do not need another law! It falls under the C&I (careless & imprudent) part of the statue. Sending a text message, changing the radio dial, reaching for something in the glove box, grabbing some food from the other seat...all
the same thing. These "anti (insert your popular phrase) laws are nothing more than "feel good" legislation for politicians to garner more votes at the next election cycle.

(naap51stang said @ #13)
I agree. We do not need another law! It falls under the C&I (careless & imprudent) part of the statue. Sending a text message, changing the radio dial, reaching for something in the glove box, grabbing some food from the other seat...all
the same thing. These "anti (insert your popular phrase) laws are nothing more than "feel good" legislation for politicians to garner more votes at the next election cycle.

+1

I'm thinking that a special law is not needed as this would easily fall under reckless endangerment and should carry heavy fines and penalties.

In India there is a very heavy fine for talking on the cellphone while driving, even if you're using a bluetooth headset.
There was a recent drive when they imposed fines on smoking while driving too, but now that has been relaxed.

I'm not too sure if there is a fine on texting while driving, but it is def worse than talking on the phone since while texting your vision is also occupied in what's being written on the screen.

But there is no way to stop it since you can't see if the person is texting or whatever.

But, if an attorney (or prosecutor) thinks that a person was distracted, they can get a warrant and pull the records of the
persons cell phone, and see if any messages were sent/received at the time of the accident. (plus the black box data from hundreds of cars that people don't know exist).


(sibot said @ #11)
But there is no way to stop it since you can't see if the person is texting or whatever.

(-Vivicidal- said @ #9)
Death peanalty I say.

it should be like on star trek, where if you go into the penalty zone, you get the lethal injection. i love that episode... poor wesley crusher. his gf was pretty hot though.

in the uk its illegal to have your phone not on hands free for use in a motor vehicle, even on plain view is frowned upon (e.g. sitting it on passenger seat) and while eating is not specifically illegal the police can charge you with driving without due care and attention, which doing anything bar driving can be classed under.

If your attention is not on the single task of driving/controlling your vehicle then you are driving without due care and attention period, no exceptions.

the girl in the article is a twit and no wonder she kept her name secret!

I dont answer anything while driving even when working (calls, sms, blackberry work emails and updates), I also refuse to have a hands free kit, i switch it to silent, if its life or death it can wait until im not driving, plain and simple nothing is that important!

It doesnt matter if its illegal or not... you are still stupid and will probably still get done for dangerous driving which is an offence.

... It is not stated anywhere it is illegal to eat sweetcorn with chopsticks, with closed eyes and sticking your head out the window while you drive... however I think you would still be driving dangerously and therefore commiting an offence.

(plastikaa said @ #6)
It doesnt matter if its illegal or not... you are still stupid and will probably still get done for dangerous driving which is an offence.

... It is not stated anywhere it is illegal to eat sweetcorn with chopsticks, with closed eyes and sticking your head out the window while you drive... however I think you would still be driving dangerously and therefore commiting an offence.

Common sense is not so common. I just wish this culture of entitlement, and zero accountability would change! When there is no personal accountability, you have dumb #@#@ers like these on the road, endangering everyone elses lives...but hey, even if they do kill someone, it's not their fault, since someone should have told them you cant do that.

+1 to both of you.

Next stop: giant ugly warning labels on cell phones to not text while driving. Just like those ugly labels I have on the underside of my car visors that tell me to buckle my seat belt and not to corner too quickly.

I often answer my mobile in the car (hands free), but I (usually) don't respond to text messages. If I do, I'm stopped at a light, I certainly don't do it while the car is moving. By taking your eyes off the road while the cars moving, I can only assume the risk of having an accident skyrockets.

"One driver, aged 25 who didn’t wish her name to be used, stated “As long as I’m not texting beside a cop car and I’m following the rules of the road, I don’t care if it’s illegal'"

Ahhh. In other words, this driver is more concerned with her ill-conceived sense of entitlement than her safety and the safety of others on the road.

I guess maturity is just too much to ask from some drivers. People with no regard for the safety of others should have their license revoked.

(C_Guy said @ #3)
"As long as ... I'm following the rules of the road, I don't care if it's illegal"

The irony is, that phrase makes no sense. :-)

HA! I didn't even catch that but that's really what she said.

I can't get her to clarify unfortunately, so I'm assuming that she just meant the normal rules of the road like stopping at a stop sign, lol.

It should be illegal everywhere and harshly punished.
While you are driving a car, your attention should be on the road around you, not a phone in your hand.....

+1. The 25 year old mentioned in the article, now that's not the kind of attitude we need our younger generation to have! I'm sure she'd be saying the same thing if she caused a fatality wreck and got the pants sued off of her... And the bit about them not realizing the danger, mrmm, not so sure I'm buying that. Unless our younger generation is THAT dumb, I think they do know the dangers, they just don't give a rat's butt. No offense to you younger people, but many of the ones that come into my store could give a crap about such things, they are too busy on their PSP/DS/phone anyways LOL.

To those of you who do practice safe® driving practices, like not yacking on a damn handheld cell phone or texting while driving (wartexting?), good for you!

+2

Driving requires your full attention and it should get it. If it is that important to check and respond to the text or call pull over and do it...

I think people who are caught texting while driving should loose their license for AT LEAST 1 year. It is just as bad as driving drunk really...

(Frazell Thomas said @ #2.2)
+2

Driving requires your full attention and it should get it. If it is that important to check and respond to the text or call pull over and do it...

I think people who are caught texting while driving should loose their license for AT LEAST 1 year. It is just as bad as driving drunk really...

What good would loosening their license do?

mmm in spain it would be illegal I think. and if it's not, whenever they realize it they would make it illegal. but I'm 100% it is illegal... like, typing SMSs distracts the hands just as much, or even more, than talking.

(SOOPRcow said @ #1.1)
It's actually not. Only talking on your cell phone (with the phone up to your ear) while driving is.

Don't be a tool, you can even go to the DMV web site and watch a video if reading the law isn't good enough for you. They clearly state "any texting device". Sure sounds like a cell phone would qualify!