DWT vs DWI
It’s like driving with your eyes closed for five seconds or more. This is the equivalent to driving while texting (reading or writing). It’s twice as likely to cause a crash as driving while intoxicated but as of 2010, only 19 states had laws that prohibited texting while driving for ALL drivers (not just teenage or novice drivers). And I’m sure that no one gets arrested, has their car impounded, or pays big fines for DWT even though it has the potential to be deadlier than DWI, is far easier to conceal, and could become more common than DWI because of the increasing ubiquity of texting devices and the general sense that DWT is not nearly as bad as DWI.
DWT laws have light years to go before they begin to even come close to DWI laws in severity of punishment and overall societal condemnation. These days you can be fired for being arrested for DWI even if your job has nothing to do with operating a motor vehicle. And this is just for being arrested for DWI. Never mind any conviction.
But DWT laws will probably never reach the hysterical levels of DWI laws and consequences even if DWT related deaths eventually reach those related to DWI (a distinct possibility in the next few years, as cell phone and other text device usage increases). Americans will always have this mentality that crimes committed while under the influence of a substance are considered to be MORE illegal than braking the law while stone cold sober. I suppose this is because being under the influence of a recreational psychotropic substance is considered to be a grand moral failing while taking your eyes off the road for five seconds before plowing into a crowd of school kids at a cross walk is considered to be just “bad judgment”.