Texting while driving is dangerous; that much is almost universally accepted. But a new survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America discovered something interesting – Americans overwhelmingly believe that texting while driving is more dangerous than driving while under the influence of marijuana. Are they right?
An interesting question, especially in a state that has legalized recreational marijuana. According to the survey, 91 percent of Americans believe that driving under the influence of marijuana is dangerous. Eighty-seven percent say that people who drive under the influence of marijuana pose a danger to other people on the road. But only 40 percent of those surveyed said they believed that driving while high contributes to more motor vehicle accidents.
But despite the fact that marijuana can have a detrimental effect on a driver’s motor functions, people reported that they believed distractions were deadlier. Ninety-nine percent of those surveyed said that using social media while driving was more dangerous than driving under the influence of marijuana. Ninety-eight percent said that texting while driving was more dangerous than driving under the influence of marijuana.
Is this belief sound? According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), researchers have not yet been able to definitively tie marijuana use to an increase in car accidents. Does this mean that driving under the influence of marijuana is safe? Given the possible side effects of marijuana, which can include dizziness and slowed reaction time, it is still best to err on the side of caution.
This study does make one thing clear, though – awareness of the dangers of distracted driving is on the rise. Hopefully, knowledge of these dangers can help contribute to a lower rate of accidents caused by texting while driving.