Texting while driving has already claimed the lives of several people across the country. In Los Angeles in 2008, a commuter train conductor was texting when he ran through a red light. The train collided with a freight train, injuring 135 people and killing 24, including the conductor (Haber). In Marion County, Florida, a 30-year-old man was texting while driving and crashed into the back of a stopped school bus, pushing it more than 200 feet forward. The bus burst into flames and one 13-year-old girl, Frances Schee, was trapped and burned to death (Haber). In 2006 in Utah, a 19-year-old was texting when he drove his SUV into oncoming traffic and nicked another car, which then careened into other oncoming cars. The driver of the other car was killed instantly (Haber). Texting while driving delays reaction time, takes focus off the road, and can result in death.
Jordan Brown and Eddie Alterman were involved in a test to compare the results of texting while driving to the effects of drunk driving, on the same day and under the exact same conditions. Brown, 22, used an iPhone and would represent younger generations. Alterman, 37, would represent the older generations using a Samsung Alias. A Honda Pilot served as the test vehicle with red lights attached to the windshield to represent a car in front of them hitting his or her brakes. Brown and Alterman were to hit the brakes when the red lights lit up. A Racelogic VBOX III data logger combined and recorded the test data from three areas: vehicle speed via the VBOX’s GPS antenna; break-pedal position and steering angle via the Pilot’s OBD II port; and the red light’s on/off status through an analog input. Each driver would run the course five times and the slowest reaction time was dropped. First, both drivers’ were tested at 35 mph and 70 mph to get a baseline reading. Then the course was repeated while the drivers read a text message aloud. This was followed by the drivers’ typing the same message they had just received. After the texting while driving test was completed the drivers then got out of the vehicle and concentrated on getting slightly intoxicated. They drank until they reached the legal driving limit of 0.08 percent blood-alcohol content. They were then put behind the wheel and went through the test course without any texting distraction. Brown’s baseline reaction time at 35 mph, and returned to almost the baseline while impaired by alcohol, at 0.46. His baseline reaction time was 0.45 seconds, while reading a text it slowed to 0.57, improved to 0.52 while writing a text at 70 mph was 0.39 second, while reading a text it was 0.50, writing a text was 0.48, and impaired was 0.50. Looking at the reactions times at 35 mph, he traveled an extra 21feet before hitting the brakes while reading a text and 16 feet longer while texting. At 70 mph, Brown’s worst reaction time while reading put him at 30 feet and 31 while texting. He only traveled 15 feet further while impaired. Alterman’s results were much worse. His baseline reaction time was 0.57 second, while reading a text it was 1.44 seconds, while texting was 1.36 seconds. That is an extra 45 and 41 feet before hitting the breaks. His reaction time while impaired was 0.64 second and only added seven feet. At 70 mph his response time while reading was 0.35 longer than his baseline of 0.56 second, writing a text added 0.68 second. His intoxicated number increased only 0.04 second over the base score. This test was performed in a straight line with no cars, stop lights, or pedestrians. (Texting While Driving) Texting while driving takes focus off the road. Twenty-one year-old Heather boasts that her multitasking skills are so fine-tuned; she has no problem texting while driving. While driving, Heather explains to the Dr. Phil cameras, “I think it just takes a certain type of person to be able to multitask, and I still pay attention to my surroundings. I can text and still look at the road at the