Awards & Associations

Study Shows Distracted Drivers Equally Impaired As Drunk Drivers

December 11, 2018

A study conducted by several University of Utah psychologists shows that drivers who use handheld or hands-free cell phones are just as impaired (and just as dangerous on the roadway) as those who drive drunk.

There were 40 participants in the study, all of whom used a driving simulator four separate times: Once while sober and undistracted, once while using a handheld cell phone, another time while using a hands-free device, and then again while drunk. Using the simulator, participants “followed” a car that braked intermittently, testing participants’ reaction times.

STUDY CO-AUTHORS PROPOSE AUGMENTATION OF DRIVING LAWS ON CELL PHONE USE

Study co-author Frank Drews detailed the findings of the study, saying, “We found that people are as impaired when they drive and talk on a cell phone as they are when they drive intoxicated at the legal blood alcohol limit of 0.08 percent.” He went on to say, “If legislators really want to address driver distraction, then they should consider outlawing cell phone use while driving.”

David Strayer, a professor of psychology at UU and the lead co-author of the study, added, “Just like you put yourself and other people at risk when you drive drunk, you put yourself and others at risk when you use a cell phone and drive. The level of impairment is very similar.”

Strayer, Drews, and Dennis Crouch (a research associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at UU) conclude the study and reinforce conventional (but oft-ignored) wisdom by saying, “Clearly the safest course of action is to not use a cell phone while driving.”

WHAT TO DO IF HARMED BY A DISTRACTED DRIVER

If the results of this study are to be taken seriously (which appears to be the case), motorists who harm others through using a cellular device while driving could suffer consequences similar to those faced by drunk drivers. In any case, they can certainly be held accountable for their negligence while driving, especially if that negligence directly contributes to another person’s injuries.

Connect with a Tulsa care accident attorney as soon as possible if you have been harmed by a distracted driver or a driver using a cell phone device in Oklahoma. By calling Saint & Watzke, PLLP, you will benefit from our in-depth legal knowledge and our developed network of experts.

Get started by sending us a message or calling (918) 721-0998 today.