The fight against drunk driving has been waged to a significant extent by people who have lost loved ones to drunk drivers. No one knows the grief and loss that drunk drivers can cause better than they do. Their courageous efforts to fight through their pain to educate society has made more Americans than ever aware of the dangers of driving while impaired.
A recent study suggests that new battle lines need to be drawn, however. While drunk driving is as dangerous as ever, research shows that distracted driving can be even more likely to result in motor vehicle crashes, injuries and deaths.
The study focused on increasingly popular in-dash infotainment systems that provide drivers with directions, maps, music, weather information, audiobooks, internet access, rearview camera views and more.
Researchers found that infotainment systems – and the popular Android Auto and Apple CarPlay software that powers them – delay driver reaction times even more than alcohol and marijuana do.
The study was conducted for road safety advocate group IAM RoadSmart.
The organization points out that the average driver’s reaction time is about one second. That means that when the vehicle ahead slams on its brakes, the average driver takes a second to do the same.
The group’s research shows that the following factors increase that average reaction time:
- 12 percent: drivers who are at the legal threshold for blood alcohol concentration (in Connecticut, that threshold is .08 percent)
- 21 percent: reaction time increase for drivers high on marijuana
- 27 percent: drivers using hands-free phones
- 30 percent: drivers using voice controls for an Android Auto infotainment system
- 35 percent: texting
- 36 percent: drivers using voice controls for an Apple CarPlay infotainment system
- 46 percent: handheld phone
- 53 percent: drivers using touch controls for an Android Auto infotainment system
- 57 percent: drivers using touch controls for an Apple CarPlay infotainment system
It should be noted that a vehicle traveling at 60 mph on a highway travels 88 feet per second. A reaction time delay of even half of a second means that a car travels 44 feet before the driver hits the brakes or takes evasive action to avoid a crash.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash caused by a distracted or drunk driver anywhere in Connecticut, contact a North Haven attorney experienced in personal injury litigation.