texting and driving proves to be worse than drinking and driving

By ZARINA KHAIRZADA
March 11, 2010
Filed under Features

Imagine: A student is running late to his class, desperate to get there on time he texts his friend to hold him a parking spot and within that split second that his eyes left the road he found his car entwined with that of another motorist’s vehicle.
“Texting is definitely a serious distraction that other students need to pay attention to, because it not only affects them, it affects everyone around them too,” Britney Venegas, 19, computer science major, said.
Texting and driving has become an epidemic nationwide and has slowly diminished pedestrian safety.
Editor of Car and Driver, Eddie Alterman, concluded through an experiment that while driving at 70 mph while having a .08 blood alcohol level, his stopping distance was four feet beyond the stop line.
Using the same experiment, Alterman tested out texting and found that he had stopped a total of 70 feet past the stop line.
Studies show that reaction time while texting falls far behind that of drinking while driving.
“I would definitely say texting is a greater risk than drinking and driving because people who drink before they drive usually know how capable they are,” Nabeel Aryan, 20, neurobiology major, said.
Many college students can admit they have participated in texting while driving even though they know it is illegal.
According to the Cellular Telephone and Internet Association (CTIA), about 50 percent of drivers who are between the ages of 18 and 24 are texting while driving and admit that texting is their distraction.
“It’s pretty obvious when people are texting because they will look up and down repeatedly while hiding the phone below the steering wheel because they know it’s illegal to do it while they are driving,” Sgt. Johnathan Ott said.
According to AAA Foundation, a study of college students who texted while using a driving simulator reported that text messaging increased their risk of crashing by eight times.
“I know texting and driving is not the best choice, but I’m not going to pull over just so I can send a text to someone. It seems like it would be such a hassle,” Venegas said.
The EC Police Department’s main goal is to instill the focus on safety while students are driving around campus and other areas.
“We haven’t handed out any citations for texting while driving yet, however, it is still a major driving hazard,” Ott said.
Since handing out citations for texting can be a tough call on whether or not the driver was violating the law, students feel comfortable doing so.
“Younger generations tend to feel like they are invincible, and I believe that has something to do with why they would do it,” Ott said.

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