Although people are aware of the dangers of texting and driving and other forms of distracted driving, many people may not consider it to be as dangerous as driving while intoxicated, especially when using a hands-free system. It is common knowledge that driving while intoxicated is a form of reckless behavior that poses serious risk to the driver and others. The same message is true for texting while driving or distracted driving.
A recent study from researchers in Australia and Spain helps to prove distracted driving is just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. The study was relatively small, including 12 college students who tested their driving skills using a simulator; once after consuming alcohol and another time while having a hands-free conversation or texting.
The students were tested on their ability to maintain lane position while traveling between 40 and 50 mph and had to brake when trucks appeared on the simulator.
The researchers were able to equate the distracted behaviors with the effects of alcohol. When using a hands-free system and engaged in simple conversation, it was similar to having a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .04 grams per liter. When texting, it was similar to a BAC of 1.0 gram per liter – this is above the legal limit in the U.S.
It may not come as a surprise to some that texting is just as dangerous as drunk driving. The study showed that even having a hands-free conversation appears to come with some potentially serious risks.
What are the laws in New York pertaining to driving while intoxicated and distracted driving?
Those who have a BAC level of .08 or higher are considered to be driving while intoxicated (DWI). A DWI could result in punishment of up to a year in jail, a year-long driver’s license suspension and/or a maximum fine of $2,500.
Texting while driving can also lead to penalties in New York. Violators may face a fine up to $150, and up to $85 in surcharges and fees. The driver will also receive three points on his or her driver’s license.