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Running Head: DISTRACTED DRIVING

Distracted Driving: Texting and Drinking


Irma Cardenas
University of Texas at El Paso
Veronica Cruz

Abstract
Instructor: Professor Veronica Cruz

DRISTRACTED DRIVING

Distracted driving is a problem in the community, whether it is texting or drinking, this is


an issue that has many affects on a number of people. Worldwide this issue affects many
individuals from children to elders. In the United States alone texting and driving injures about
330,000 people a year (Edger 2016), while drunk driving kills about 28 people a day resulting in
about 10,220 people a year (Intoxalock 2016). El Paso, Texas as any other city in the United
States also faces these difficulties, although the laws of texting/drinking and driving are different
than other cities. A survey, where 50 individuals participated, was conducted around the city.
Research questions that are within the essay are: how does this affect the community? At what
age do the citizens face these problems? Are the laws being enforced? How can this issue be
stopped and why do the citizens continue to text and drink while driving? The purpose of this
literature review is to inform the readers of the issues with distracted driving, and the causes that
it can cause an individual and their family.

Distracted Driving: Texting and Drinking

Instructor: Professor Veronica Cruz

DRISTRACTED DRIVING

As society has been progressing over the years, not only in infrastructures but also in
motor vehicles, technology, and culture, these developments has made society act differently
with their actions. Before the 2000s, car related accidents were based on the fact that the car had
a malfunction or because the driver was drunk. Coming into the 2000s, accident rates increased
because of the growth in technology, allowing easier access on mobile devices. Technology has
made handheld devices uncomplicated to use, allowing society to use their devices easier, such
as listening to music, texting, calling, and using the internet. With all these new appliances it is
simple for an individual to get distracted while driving. While driving one should be focus on the
road in front of them and their surrounding, not on what is on their phones. Within a day
approximately 660,000 drivers try to use their cell phones behind the wheel (Edgar 2016).
Texting is not the only type of distracted driving; being drunk also plays a big role in societies
accidents. These actions lead to a tremendous amount of people being harmed, whether it is
physical, emotional, or both.

There are three types of distracted driving cognitive, manual, and visual, an individual
committees all of these three when texting. Cognitive distractions are when the mind starts to
wonder off and thoughts of other things besides driving are in ones mind. Manual distractions
take place when the driver takes their hands off the wheel to make contact with another object,

Instructor: Professor Veronica Cruz

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such as reaching for their phone. Visual distractions occur when the driver takes their eyes of the
road in front of them to look at another object, whether it is another person or their cell phone
(EdnDD 2016).
Drunk driving is an issue that is as serious and important as texting and driving. Every 90
seconds that pass by someone is hurt in an accident caused by drunken driving (Intoxalock
2016). Every state has a different amount of alcohol that can be consumed before it becomes
hazardous to the public. BAC is short for Blood Alcohol Content which tells how much alcohol
can be consumed into the bloodstream. Many states in the United States have a BAC of 0.10:
although it does differ depending in the state. In Texas the BAC is 0.8, but if under the age of 21
then it is 0.2 (Rich 2016). Once these numbers are reached it is recommended that an individual
does not get behind the wheel. If they pass the BAC of 0.8 and still have the desire to drive it can
cause many accidents. Sometimes these accidents are not serious but other times they can be
leading to the death of those who were involved in the crash. Three people are killed for every
two hours that go by (Chambers 2016), resulting in innocent people dying as a result of someone
under the influence of alcohol. The individuals who are injured and the ones who have died, can
be anyone, from a new born baby to someone in their 80s.
Both texting and drinking have an enormous impact on society, whether it is because of
someone who they have hurt or killed, or because of the way it changes someones life. On the
best of cases when one of these accidents happen no one gets hurt, but when everything goes
completely wrong it can ruin someones entire life. Not only can it take their life away, but it can
also take one of their abilities away, or it can even leave them looking unrecognizable. Losing
the ability to move a certain part of the body such as not being able to talk again, not being able
to walk again, nor being able to write again. Waking up days later after the car accident and not
Instructor: Professor Veronica Cruz

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being able to remember anything and/or waking up to see that the person that once was will
never be able to look and be the same way. These are actual tragedies that happen on a daily
bases. Although many people do not see this as an issue and if they do they take no action against
it. The community of El Paso, Texas also faces these difficulties whether it is either situation.
Taking a closer look into the literature review a survey was conducted and the following research
questions are to be considered to let the audience get a better understanding of these dreadful
accidents:
1. How does distracted driving such as texting and drinking affect the community of
El Paso, Texas?
2. At which age are the citizens of El Paso, Texas most likely to use their phone
and/or drink while driving?
3. Are the laws that El Paso have on texting/drinking and driving helpful in
preventing accidents from occurring? What are some of these laws and other
helpful tools?
4. What are some of the things that El Paso individuals think about in regards to
distracted driving of both texting and drinking? With accidents occurring and
knowing the consequences of this action, why do El Paso individuals continue to
text/drink and drive?
Survey conducted
A survey was conducted around El Paso, Texas where 50 individuals participated and
gave their options about driving distractedly. The survey was anonymous, asking females and
males between the ages of 14 and 66 questions about whether they have been in a car with
someone who drinks/texts and drives, if they commit the same actions and what their overall
view on this subject. To get a better understanding of the survey it will be attached to the

Instructor: Professor Veronica Cruz

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appendix. The first question asked was if they have ever been in a car with the driver taking their
eyes off the road to look at their phones? Out of the 50 individuals 46 answered that they have in
order to do one of the following: text, answer the phone, skip/changing a song, browsing the
internet, and/or use an app. 28 out of the 50 have used their phones to text while they themselves
where driving. This survey also focused on drunk driving, asking whether they have ever been in
a car with the driver being drunk? And if they have who was the driver? Out of the individuals
who participated in the survey 26 admitted to driving with driver being drunk, most said that the
driver was either a family member or a friend. From these 26, three males and one female said
that they have been the drunk driver. Towards the end of this survey, one of the questions was if
they have been in an accident because of distracted driving, seven individuals said that one of
their family members and/or friends have been in a car accident. Luckily none of them have died
due to the accident. The questions at the end of the survey focus more with the research question
where they will be talked about in depth.
How does distracted driving such as texting and drinking affect the community of El Paso,
Texas?
Distracted driving affects every society that some sort of motor vehicles, but this section
will focus directly on the affects it has on the society of El Paso, Texas. That has a total
population of 27,695,284 people, making it one of the largest cities in Texas (Lisa 2015). Not
only does driving distractedly effect an individual personally but it also affect the community by
the destruction it causes. When someone is driving and paying more attention to their phone than
the actual road in front of them it leads to them causing accidents. Whether it is not braking fast
enough and hitting the person in front, or driving into ongoing traffic. Drunk driving also has the
same affect when someone is drunk they start to lose awareness. Alcohol slows down the
Instructor: Professor Veronica Cruz

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functions of the central nervous system in the brain which makes it harder to perform tasks. The
more alcohol that is consumed, the harder it will be to see the road and the other cars, the brain
and body will start to lose conscious and it will be difficult to control the wheel and gas pedals
(National Council 2016). Sometimes these accident cause more than just harm to the people who
were in the car(s) or motor vehicles, it can led to the destruction of a particular place. Crashing
into a building, a sign, a bridge, a light post, or another car can cause damage that will need to be
rebuilt by the construction workers of El Paso.
At which age are the citizens of El Paso, Texas most likely to use their phone
and/or drink while driving?
At any age the citizens of El Paso can get a cell phone, but they must be at least 21 years
of age to drink. Although there are other ways of getting a hold of alcohol, telling a family
member or friend above the age limit to buy it, going to a party that already provides it, or in
certain cases having a fake identification in order to buy alcohol. In any case there is always a
way for underage children to get alcohol. The age to drive is different where one can receive a
permit at the age of 15, and then get their drivers license at the age of 18 (Driver 2016). Whether
an individual has a permit or the actual drivers licenses, this will not stop them from distracted
driving. As society has progressed with technology they will want to check their social media
status, who is texting/calling them, changing the song they dislike, or taking a picture of what
they are doing. This will not stop them from going drinking with their friends to have a fun time,
when later that night they will have to drive back home, hopefully not dunk. Conducting the
survey as said before the age of the participants ranged from 14 to 66 years of age. Seeing the
results, the age group that drives distractedly are from 18 to 26 years of age and from 35 to 47
years of age. Looking at all the information gathered from the survey, males are more likely to
Instructor: Professor Veronica Cruz

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drink and drive at the age of 18 and 47, while females committee this action around the age of 20
and early 30s. On the other hand males are likely to text and drive around their early 20s, while
females text and drive at the age of 19 and their early 40s.
Are the laws that El Paso have on texting/drinking and driving helpful in preventing
accidents from occurring? What are some of these laws and other helpful tools?
Like any other city El Paso has its restrictions with distracted driving, at what age certain
things are allowed and what consequences certain actions can lead to. As stated earlier the state
of Texas allows an individual to drink a certain amount before they become a risk to the public,
the BAC are listed below on graph 1 (Rich 2016). As for texting and driving it is an offense to
have to have a cell phone in ones hands while driving and they can be fined anywhere from $200
to $800 depending on how serious the offense was. Other helpful tools to prevent accidents from
occurring is having those apps that one has to call to give them a ride home when they are drunk,
such as Uber. The participants who took the survey would say that one good way to stop
accidents from occurring is calling/texting Uber, setting check point, or having more taxis
available at night.

Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)


Under 21

.02

21 or older

.08

Commercial

.04

What are some of the things that El Paso individuals


think about in regards to distracted driving of both texting and drinking?

Instructor: Professor Veronica Cruz

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Taking all the information from the surveys, the citizens of El Paso know that texting and
drinking while driving is a huge issue and should be stopped. Many gave their own ideas of that
they believe should be done and others thought that enforcing the laws that El Paso already has
will work better if they have a harder punishment. The individuals who gave their own ideas said
that if there was a system to help drunk drivers get home safely without them having to drive
would be the best solution. Certain things that would go under this area are if there was a
vehicles company that one could call in order to get picked up. Also if checkpoints where to be
set at night to keep people going home safe. In the case for texting and driving, cell phones
should have a setting that would make them go off as soon as they get in the car and go back on
when they leave the car. Those who suggested enforcing the laws said for police officers not to
give out warnings but tickets instead. If more tickets where to be given out it would be a god and
bad thing. Good because it would stop people from committing these acts but the individuals
who get the tickets would get mad and say more offal things about the police officers.
With accidents occurring and knowing the consequences of this action, why do El Paso
individuals continue to text/drink and drive?
When the accidents are reported and shown on the news, it lets the audience see how
horrific an accident can be, and how much sadness it can cause their loved ones. As the
individual is driving while texting and/or drinking, they know what can happen to them but they
do not believe it will happen. Not having the idea that they can get in an accident that can cost
them their lives, they continue to perform these actions. Certain people will not commit these
acts at all because they do not want to face the consequences, whether it is a fine, time in jail,
and even death. They do not want to risk their lives nor those of the other cars around them. On
the other hand there are other people who know how grave these acts can be but do not stop until
Instructor: Professor Veronica Cruz

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it has affected them personally. If a family member or friend has been in an accident because of
distracted driving causing them to not be able to drive, or move a certain part of their body,
having to pay a fine, or not being alive. All of these are terrible actions than can happen to
anyone whether they are the ones texting/drinking and driving, or they are in the other car, or the
person walking who got hit.
Conclusion
Distracted driving is an enormous problem, not only in one community but all over the
world. As technology and society are progressing over the years it makes it easier to complete
certain tasks, one of them being using the phone. Although this is great in the technology field, it
has it consequences. Making cell phones have certain apps and function a certain way, it makes
drivers get distracted easy when they should be focused on the road, leading to unwanted
accidents. Covering distracted driving, the only problem is not texting there is also drunk
driving. This issue also affects many people causing deadly accidents, from losing focus on the
road because of all the alcohol in the blood system. There cannot be one single blame for this
topic, as seeing that not one person is causing this harm. If this problem is ever to get fixed every
single person must do their job, whether it is to not text/drink and drive, telling the driver not to
commit these action, or giving out tickets to those who violate the law.

Instructor: Professor Veronica Cruz

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Reference
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. (2015, June 26). Driving While
Impaired -- Alcohol and Drugs. NCADD - National Council on Alcoholism and Drug
Dependence. Retrieved March 30, 2016, from https://ncadd.org/about-addiction/drivingwhile-impaired-alcohol-and-drugs
Texas Department of Public Safety. (2016). Teen Drivers. Texas Department
of Public Safety. Retrieved March 30, 2016, from
http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/DriverLicense/teendriver.htm
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EndDD End Distracted Driving. (2016). Learn the Facts About Distracted
Driving. EndDD End Distracted Driving. Retrieved March 30, 2016, from
http://www.enddd.org/the-facts-about-distracted-driving/
Edgars Snyder and Associates. (2016). Cell Phone Use While Driving
Statistics. Edgars Snyder and Associates. Retrieved March 30, 2016,
from https://www.edgarsnyder.com/car-accident/cause-of-accident/cellphone/cell-phone-statistics.html
Rich Stim. (2016). Texas DUI and DWI Laws. Driving Laws. Retrieved March
30, 2016, from http://dui.drivinglaws.org/texas.php
Intoxalock. (2016). Ignition Interlock and Drunk Driving Statistics. Intoxalock.
Retrieved March 30, 2016, from https://www.intoxalock.com/ignitioninterlock-devices/statistics
Lisa Robinson. (January, 2015). Our Driving Concern. Texas Employer Traffic
Safety Program. Retrieved March 30, 2016, from
http://www.nsc.org/NSCDocuments_Advocacy/Texas
%20Documents/Texas-Employer-Newsletter-January-2015.pdf
Chambers M., Liu M., and Moore C.. (2016). Drunk Driving by the Numbers.
United States Department of Transportation. Retrieved March 30, 2016,
from
http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/publications/by_th
e_numbers/drunk_driving/index.html

Appendix
Distracted Driving: Texting and Drinking
______________________________________________________________________

Instructor: Professor Veronica Cruz

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***Please answer the following questions honestly; this will be an anonymous survey. If any of
the questions offend you, or you wish not to answer, please skip it and move on to the following.
***
Have you ever been in a car with the driver taking their eyes off the road to look at their
phone?
o Yes
o No
If you have, then circle all of the following that apply to what they were doing:
o Texting
o Answering/talking on the phone
o Using an app
o Skipping/changing a song
o Taking a picture/video
o Browsing the internet
o Using it as a mirror to put on make-up
o Other _____________________
While driving have you ever been on your phone texting?
o Yes
o No
Has a family member and/or friend used their phone to text while driving, when you were
in the car?
o Family member
Yes
No
o Friend
Yes
No
Do your parents text and drive?
o Yes
o No
Have you ever been in a car with the driver being drunk?
o Yes
o No
If you have then circle all that apply:
o Family member
o Friend
o Yourself
o Stranger

Instructor: Professor Veronica Cruz

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Has a family member, a friend, or yourself ever been in a car accident because of texting
or drinking?

Do you feel that distracted driving is an issue in our community? If so why?

Is the law enforcing any way to stop these accidents from accruing?

What can be done to stop the issue of distracted driving? Whether it is texting and
driving, or drinking and driving.

How old are you?

What is your gender?

Comments:

Instructor: Professor Veronica Cruz