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Phones, drinking and driving: perception isn't always reality

Drunk driving offenses have been a part of the collective mind of the nation for many years now. We all know the risks of drinking and driving, and many have seen first-hand how a drunk driving charge can change their life. But it is only within the last 15 years that a very similar act of reckless driving has entered the national consciousness, and yet the uproar, though significant, doesn't seem to match the punishment it receives. We are talking about using a cellphone while driving.

The punishment associated with driving a car while using a cellphone (may it be making a call, sending a text, or using an app) usually is a fine. Rarely does the punishment get any more severe than that. However, a drunk driving charge can lead to jail time, a loss of license, loss of vehicle, and much, much worse.

We bring this up because new data seems to show that distracted driving has surpassed drunk driving when it comes to traffic accidents and fatalities. And yet the punishment for distracted driving is merely a more financially-painful ticket.

This doesn't seem to compare to the reality. We aren't calling for extreme punishment for texting drivers. It could certainly be helpful though, given just dangerous the act is.

Instead, we are simply saying that a little perspective is necessary here. Both drunk driving and texting while driving are behaviors that no one should engage in. But if you are accused of these negligent acts, the punishments for each act should fit the crime. And if you are indeed innocent of the charge against you, then you deserve to walk away free.

Source: FOX 21, "Phones and driving: The real impact," Kody Fisher, Nov. 16, 2015 

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