We all know that we shouldn’t drive while we’re talking on our cell phones or eating, because studies have shown us that distracted driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving, based on how it impairs reaction times in drivers. That means more car accidents and more serious injuries as a result.

A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed many improvements in teen driver safety, specifically in the realm of distracted driving. But a previous survey from State Farm Insurance showed that most young drivers still engage in text messaging while they are driving.

Distracted Driving Awareness Continues to Spread

Many strides have been made in public safety when it comes to distracted driving, especially among inexperienced teen drivers. Texting while driving is illegal in every state, and statistics have shown that public outreach campaigns have been effective in spreading awareness about the risk of injury and even death because of distracted driving.

But the evolution of technology has obviously changed the culture of driving throughout the United States. Now, cell phones can serve as navigation systems and hands-free communication devices, which can make a driver safer in some instances.

Still, cell phones and other electronic devices serve as a conduit for distracted driving as well. In fact, many state laws allow cell phone use by drivers if they are using the navigation or other non-communication features on the device. This makes the enforcement of these laws a bit trickier for law enforcement since the primary source of detecting distracted driving is by physically witnessing the driver using his or her cell phone.

Just How Common Is Texting And Driving ?

According to the National Highway & Transportation Administration, a texting driver is just as impaired as a driver who has consumed four alcoholic beverages. Drunk drivers are dangerous because their reaction times are slower, their judgement is impaired, and they may get not notice obstacles in the road ahead of them. Distracted drivers are a hazard to themselves and others because they’re often looking away from the road, and even when they do glance up, they might notice a dangerous situation too late to stop.

Most Americans understand by now that it’s dangerous to get into a car with a drunk driver. Fewer understand the dangers of distracted driving. In a 2013 study of high school students, 22 percent told researchers that they had let a drunk friend drive them around. Compare those numbers to the crowd of people who’ve ridden in cars while the driver was texting. Researchers found that half of all adults and teenagers have ridden in a vehicle while the driver was texting.