DUI attorneys at Alcock & Associates
KTAR is reporting that other DUI attorneys in Phoenix are speaking out about the dangers of texting while driving. We agree wholeheartedly. What we know about impaired driving tells us that texting while behind the wheel may actually be far more dangerous than driving under the influence.
When you are pulled over for a DUI, the police will likely ask you to submit to field sobriety tests. These tests are designed to test the subjects ability to listen to instructions and complete relatively simple tasks that sober people normally have no difficulty with. The concept behind the tests is to measure the subjects ability to multi-task.
Everybody knows that texting requires quite a bit of attention. Modern cell phones have tiny keys on smooth display surfaces. You can’t touch type or feel your way around must keypads. As a result, a driver who is texting has to look at the screen and use both hands in order to text.
From a divided attention standpoint, this is about as bad as it gets. The texting driver is communicating with someone. The driver is thinking about the text conversation. Physically, the driver must look away from the road and at a small screen. Both hands have to be used in order to send the message. From mental to physical, the act of texting requires almost all of a driver’s faculties.
Now compare that with a driver who is behind the wheel after consuming three beers. Technically, that driver is over the legal limit of .o8. However, let’s assume that that driver is completely focused on the task at hand. The radio is off, as is the driver’s cell phone. Honestly speaking, who is the more dangerous driver. The unimpaired driver who isn’t looking at the road or the .081 BAC driver who is driving as diligently as possible.
It always struck me as unusual how differently our legal system treats impaired drivers vs. irresponsible motorists. DUI attorneys routinely have to deal with prosecutors who crow about the fact that in order to get a conviction all they have to do is prove that the defendant was, “impaired to the slightest degree by alcohol.” But what about the driver who is eating a sandwich and fumbling through their CD case. (OK, I recognize that nobody has a CD case anymore, but let’s suspend reality for a moment) That same prosecutor will charge the distracted driver with a civil traffic violation when their car crashes though a house and injures a sleeping occupant.
The impaired driver who is driving carefully but can’t avoid a collision with a pedestrian who walks in front of their car goes to prison.Now I’m not saying that it’s OK to drink and drive. But I do think that there is a silent epidemic of reckless drivers who have their heads completely up their backsides. Essentially the law allows it, does nothing to stigmatize it, and does nothing to prevent the horrific consequences. DUI attorney Nick Alcock practices in Phoenix Arizona. He can be reached at 602-989-5000
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