How does drunk driving compare to distracted driving?

by | Nov 24, 2018 | Firm News

People engage in a lot of dangerous activities in their cars, from breaking the speed limit to neglecting to use their seat belts. However, you could argue that the two most dangerous trends are distracted driving and drunk driving. They both cause many accidents that result in injuries and/or death.

Worst of all, these are easily preventable crashes. By way of comparison, a lack of experience also makes young drivers crash more often, but they cannot get experience without driving. It’s a natural risk that is impossible to avoid. With drunk driving and distracted driving, though, drivers could eliminate every related injury if they simply stopped taking these risks behind the wheel.

So, how do the two compare? Let’s take a look.


Reports show that, in 2015, drunk driving led to 290,000 injuries. In the same year, distracted driving led to 391,000 injuries. This statistic shows just how common distracted driving really is. We have seen campaigns against drunk driving for decades, but distraction is actually putting more people in the hospital. It’s time to take that into account.


When looking at fatal accidents, drunk driving led to around 10,265 deaths, while distracted driving led to 3,477 fatalities. Again, both statistics are for 2015. What this tells us is that, though distraction may cause more injuries, drunk driving may actually be more dangerous in terms of sheer consequence. What is it about drunk driving that makes it so much more likely to be fatal?


One thing to consider is the way that courts find proof. When accidents involve fatalities, the authorities take this process seriously. The ramifications could put someone in jail. Someone lost their life, after all.

With drunk driving, it is often relatively easy to prove. A driver who blows a 0.10 percent on a breath test is intoxicated, over that legal limit of 0.08 percent. There is no question about whether they have been drinking. Even if the driver swears they never drank, blood and breath tests tell a different story.

With distracted driving, proof is much harder to find in many cases. If a driver lies and says they never got distracted, how do you prove it? Some options include looking at cellphone records, text message records, social media sites or video footage of the crash. However, if authorities do not have any of that, proving distraction becomes more difficult.

This could mean that the statistics for distracted driving would appear worse if the police actually knew about every case of distraction and could prove it as easily as they can with intoxication.

Your options

If you do get injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver or a distracted driver, make sure you know what options you have to seek financial compensation.

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