What is More Dangerous: Drunk or Distracted Driving?

DUI and drugged driving have ranked as a top cause of car accidents for decades, but another threat that is almost as dangerous has been making headlines for the last few years — distracted driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 2,841 drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists were killed because of distracted driving in 2018. That figure is far less than the 10,511 victims who died in drunk driving crashes, but the trend is still cause of alarm. Any time a motorist is texting, talking on the phone, eating, adjusting the radio, or engaged in other tasks, there is a risk of a serious collision. 

Though DUI crashes may lead to more fatalities, it is still worth looking at additional statistics on the dangers and how distracted driving causes Miami car accidents.

Statistics Comparing Drunk and Distracted Driving

While the threat of DUI crashes is more prevalent, there is a common perception that distracted driving is a significant threat. In a survey, almost two-thirds of respondents were gravely concerned about motorists using their phones. Additional figures from the NHTSA and other sources is also telling:

  • Around 290,000 individuals are injured in drunk driving accidents every year, but an estimated 391,000 are hurt because of driver distractions.
  • Approximately 25% of all car crashes on US roadways involve various uses of a cell phone.
  • On average, a person was killed every 50 minutes in DUI collisions in 2018.
  • Driving while texting, a specific type of cell phone-related distracted driving, is linked to 1.6 million motor vehicle collisions every year.
  • One in five motorists admits to sending or receiving messages while behind the wheel.
  • By age group, the highest number of fatal distracted driving accidents is linked to individuals 15 to 19 years old.

Motorist Intoxication Versus Distraction

The effects on a distracted driver are very different from one that is impaired by alcohol. In general, intoxication slows reaction time and makes it more difficult for the motorist to perform two tasks at the same time. Incapacity increases with higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC), to the point where a driver at the legal limit of .08% may experience memory loss and limited control over the vehicle.

A driver who is distracted by cell phone use or other activities suffers reduced visual, manual, and cognitive functioning – in many cases, all three simultaneously. The NHTSA compares sending or reading a text at 55 miles per hour to driving the length of a football field while blindfolded.

Contact Our Miami Car Accidents Lawyers to Discuss Your Rights

If you were injured or lost a loved one because in a DUI or distracted driving crash, our team at Gerson & Schwartz, PA can assist with your case. We are prepared to file a claim with the responsible motorist’s insurance company, and we will go to court if necessary to protect your interests. To learn more about our legal services, please contact our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL to set up your free consultation.

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