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Distracted driving as dangerous as drunk driving

Tennessee residents are understandably concerned about the dangers they face due to people who choose to drink and drive. However, these drivers are not the only motorists that place innocent people in harm’s way due to their negligence and poor decisions. People who text while driving or use their phones to make and receive calls without the assistance of hands-free technology also create risks just as serious as those posed by drunk drivers.

The Huffington Post indicates that while social pressure has helped to reduce accidents caused by alcohol-impaired drivers, texting or other handheld use of mobile phones while driving has no real stigmas attached to it. The dangers associated with mobile phone distracted driving can actually rival that of drunk driving. Despite this, some statistics show that over 40 percent of adults have ridden in vehicles while the drivers texted or used their phones in handheld mode.

In addition to social pressure differences, there is also a difference in the way that penalties for these offenses are doled out. Many times, people convicted of driving while under the influence can face stricter consequences than people who are found using their phones when driving. For example, the Governors Highway Safety Association indicates that any driver convicted of a drunk driving offense must install and use an ignition interlock device.

In Tennessee all drivers are banned from texting while driving. However, despite that law, only those with learner’s permits, intermediate licenses or who drive school buses are banned from making phone calls while driving.

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