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Is Texting While Driving the Same as Driving Drunk?

Should Texting While Driving Be Grounds For Jail Time?

A 22-year-old driver in England was recently sentenced to 21 months in jail for her role in the death of a 24-year-old woman. According to police, she was text messaging while driving and slammed into the back of the other woman's stopped car on a dark highway, instantly killing her. The charge, "death by dangerous driving," is handled similarly to a drunk driving charge, and carries a recommended sentence of four to seven years in prison.

Just this week, New York became the latest state to enact a ban on texting while driving. I obviously don't support the practice of driving and texting — it's too distracting — but do you think distracted drivers who cause serious accidents should be punished similarly to drunk drivers?

Image Source: Getty
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Antaura Antaura 7 years
Texting whilst driving may not be the *same* as driving drunk, but it is still a hazard that can lead to accidents and/or fatalities. Jail time for texting? I agree with that. (And, for the record, my position is hardly a reflection of me being either "too old" to understand technology or how to drive a car. Nice sweeping generalization there though, 12.) As for 12's comments regarding makeup, I couldn't disagree more. I was once driving behind a woman who was putting on makeup using her rear-view mirror *and* driving over 70 km/h. She rear-ended a car in front of her and the teenager in said car was carried off on a stretcher. He didn't die, but that's not the point. The point is, all that damage was caused because some moron was applying makeup whilst operating a vehicle.
kaitxo kaitxo 7 years
Glad to hear you two are alright nitallica. All people have to do is wait until they get to their destination to continue the conversation. My friends know that I do not text while driving and understand when I don't text them back for a few minutes. Driving is dangerous and people need to recognize that and take all the proper precautions.
kaitxo kaitxo 7 years
I am pleasantly surprised by the results. Please no more texting and driving! I would also like no more talking on a cell phone and driving but many people have a problem with that.
Baby-Girl Baby-Girl 7 years
Yes. There was an accident near here last school year where the driver was texting and a few people died.
staple-salad staple-salad 7 years
@ 12: Yes, women who put on make-up while driving should certainly get a fine or arrested for it. Did you hear about the woman a few months ago in Australia that KILLED someone because she just HAD to be wearing make up? Make up is even less necissary than texting, and is it really that hard to go a day without wearing any (you're talking to a girl here who never wears make up). That's just as stupid as texting. As for your CD analogy, you can put in a CD at a stop light if you REALLY have to, and it takes much less time than sending a text, and making a playlist on your iPod or having a stack of CDs ready before you drive solves anything that could impair your driving with that. There is NO excuse however for texting and driving. If you really have to, just pull the F over. I'd rather drive with someone going under the speed limit than someone texting while driving. You're far less likely to kill someone hitting them at a low speed than going the speed limit (or likely above it) and rear-ending someone or T-boning someone or whatever because you were texting.
Akasha Akasha 7 years
I am actually not too old to understand technology, and my job requires me to be on the phone, answering emails, and texting at least 18 hours a day while out running from meeting to meeting, but due to the accidents that happen, and the potential for the loss of human life I have to agree with lawmakers about texting and driving. I agree that there is a difference between sitting at a red light and texting and doing 30-50 mph and texting, but since people are not responsible enough to actually stop texting when the light changes it's a matter of stopping it altogether. Besides can you honestly think of one thing that you have to say that would be worth someone's life? I work on multi-million dollar deals all day long and even I can't think of anything that I have to say that is worth killing someone over.
mobilemiker mobilemiker 7 years
Distracted driving due to cell phones is a very complex issue - the cognitive, physical and visual distractions that accompany its use while driving make the number one cause of driver inattentiveness and a leading cause of crashes in the US. There are a number of studies that demonstrate that cell phone use can be more dangerous than a BAC of .08 (the legal limit) during the times of distractions. Solving this problem however will require more than legislation and education as those who are using their phones while driving for the most part already recognize it is dangerous (and illegal in many cases). I have recently helped start a company called - a mobile application that you download to your smartphone and it helps keep you safe and legal by forcing the use of hands-free calling, filtering incoming calls based on your priority, preventing texting and emailing but auto-replying on your behalf, and much more. It is free to try. Our hope is to provide a solution that balances safety with general need to stay connected with friends, family and co-workers. Once you try it let us know what you think. Thanks for the opportunity to post and please zoom safer.
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 7 years
geek you should have posted the PSA that is going around from the UK. Its some serious stuff, but very truthful. It doesn't take much to find a parking lot and text, or to just wait until you get there.
Tech Tech 7 years
Oh wow nitallica - I'm so sorry to hear that. Let's hope that these new laws prevent more accidents like the one you were involved in. I'm glad you and your daughter are ok.
T-S T-S 7 years
It's not the same as drunk driving at all. I mean, you can't just be drunk at a stop light and magically become sober when it turns green.
Zivanod Zivanod 7 years
Texting while driving became illegal in Ontario a week ago. Right now you receive a fine for it but I do feel that stiffer penalties should be handed out to anyone who compromises their ability to concentrate while driving whether it be by texting or some other ill-advised activity.
nitallica nitallica 7 years
A year ago, my daughter and I were sitting stopped waiting to turn, and was hit from behind by a young woman at full speed. She said she didn't see us -- we later found out it was because she was texting and wasn't paying attention. What saved us was the size of my vehicle; had we been in a compact car, she would have killed us instantly.
staple-salad staple-salad 7 years
I'm surprised by the people I've seen doing it, and the fact that I bought this month's issue of Cosmo magazine, and there was an article that said "Texting while driving isn't as good of an idea as it sounds!" (or similar). I was surprised that people actually needed an article to tell them that. And it's one thing to be at a party and think "oh, I've sobered up, I can drive", and another to think "gee, I'm only going 30mph on this busy road, time to bust out the textinator!" while completely sober. That, and when I see people texting and driving, it usually seems to be in pedestrian-heavy areas, or areas with lots of traffic. I mean honestly, if you're THAT stupid, you should get locked up for your own, and everyone else's safety. That and maybe if it had some jail time associated with it, people would actually pay attention to common sense and not do it.
kia kia 7 years
It is amazing to me that people don't realize how dangerous this is. Why don't we consider driving a car a privilege that requires concentration? I think there should be serious consequences for taking this privilege for granted.
icecreamsprinkle icecreamsprinkle 7 years
It really depends on the circumstance, in my opinion. Its different if you just cause a fender bender than if you kill someone. Her dangerous driving caused that woman's death, so in that case she should be charged with serious consequences.
Akasha Akasha 7 years
I kind of feel like they should be just as serious a crime. Especially when you consider that it's just as easy for you to pop in your headset and make a phone call instead of texting. I live in LA and the number of people emailing/ texting while driving is just ridiculous. Not to mention regardless of the fact that there is a law against it people still don't use the headsets. Maybe if the laws held a worse charge people would finally get the point.
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