Connecticut Should Treat Texting While Driving The Same As Drinking and Driving

by Ryan McKeen

Talking on a cell phone is so 5 years ago.

Now phones are all about texting, chatting, emails, twitter and facebook.

More and more when I’m on the road, I see drivers on their iPhone or Blackberry typing away. Have you ever tried to wrestle an iPhone or Blackberry away from someone? It’s like trying to take a cub away from a mother bear. These devices are the most engrossing inventions known to human kind.

Recently CNBC ran a story about tests that Car and Driver magazine did that concluded texting and driving was worse than drinking and driving.

Rigging a car with a red light to alert drivers when to brake, the magazine tested how long it takes to hit the brake when sober, when legally drunk at .08, when reading and e-mail, and when sending a text. The results are scary. Driving 70 miles per hour on a deserted air strip Car and Driver editor Eddie Alterman was slower and slower reacting and braking when e-mailing and texting.

The results:

  • Unimpaired: .54 seconds to brake
  • Legally drunk: add 4 feet
  • Reading e-mail: add 36 feet
  • Sending a text: add 70 feet

Many times I’ve used this blog to poke fun at the volume of laws on our books. In fact, I think our state nickname should be the “Nanny State”. After all, we’ve got no beer on Sundays and an Attorney General on the front lines of the war against virtual beer pong. But this is serious stuff.

Certainly Car and Driver’s study isn’t exhaustive but I think its conclusion that texting while driving is a bad as drinking while driving is probably correct.  At least from what I’ve seen on Connecticut’s roads.

I think our legislature should get serious about texting while driving.  By serious, I mean that the penalties for operating a vehicle while texting should mirror the penalties for operating under the influence.

Ryan McKeen is a trial attorney at Connecticut Trial Firm, LLC in Glastonbury, Connecticut. In 2016, he was honored by the CT Personal Injury Hall of Fame for securing one of the highest settlements in the state. He is a New Leader in the Law. ABA 100. Avvo 10. 40 under 40 for Hartford Business Journal. He has been quoted in Time Magazine, the New York Times, Hartford Courant, Wall Street Journal Law Blog and the Hartford Business Journal. He focuses his practice on Connecticut Personal Injury law. He loves what he does. Contact him or 860 471 8333

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