Is Driving Under the Influence or Using a Cell Phone While Driving More Dangerous?

Today, distracted driving has become more of a problem than ever before. Cell phones are a large part of this distraction, as motorists text while driving, talk on the phone, or do other things with their phones – even though it is against the law in many states. How does cell phone use compare with drunk driving when it comes to accidents and the danger involved?

A detailed study was conducted in 2003 by researchers at the University of Utah regarding the effects of cell phone use while driving. This paper, entitled “Fatal Distraction? A Comparison of the Cell-Phone Driver and the Drunk Driver” indicated that ultimately, those who use cell phones while driving were involved in more accidents than drunk drivers. The study found that motorists who used cell phones while operating a vehicle were less responsive and more impaired than motorists who were driving with alcohol levels of 0.08% or above.

The research consisted of, among other things, the use of a simulator which allowed the researchers to measure how the subjects of the study reacted when a vehicle in front of them applied the brakes. The results indicated that the participants with blood alcohol levels at or above .08% were involved in no more accidents than normal, however those talking on cell phones exhibited an 8% slower reaction time than the normal baseline, and were involved in more rear-end collisions. The study also found that drivers talking on cell phones required 15% longer to return to normal speed, while those with alcohol in their systems did not vary from normal baselines for returning to normal speed significantly.

For Michigan DUI attorneys, this information is quite interesting, considering the difference in penalties between the two offenses. In most areas in Michigan, a motorist can be fined $100 for a first offense of texting while driving. The penalties for a first DUI conviction include fines of up to $500, up to 93 days in jail, driver’s license suspension, possible community service, and more.

Regardless of what the study shows, driving while under the influence is a serious offense not only in Michigan, but across the nation today. If you have been arrested for operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, contact an aggressive and committed Michigan DUI lawyer for vigorous legal representation immediately.

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