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Which Is More Dangerous: Drunk Driving or Distracted Driving?

by Christian Scranton

With nearly 60% of California drivers stating last year that they had been hit or had a near miss with a driver using their cell phone, it’s clear that distracted driving is an issue on our state’s roads. We’re all familiar with the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol, but could distracted driving pose an even bigger risk?

In 2015, drunk driving caused 10,265 deaths in total. Distracted driving caused 3,477 deaths nationwide in the same year. Just because this dangerous habit is less fatal, does that mean that it’s necessarily less dangerous? In the same year, distracted driving caused around 391,000 injuries compared to 290,000 where drunk driving was the root cause.

distracted driving vs drunk driving

The reason drunk driving is so dangerous is that alcohol impairs our reaction times and our decision-making skills. A driver may misjudge the distance between two cars and pull out onto a road, causing an accident. Or they might fail to brake in time if there is a hazard on the road. If a driver is completely sober but has taken their hands off the wheel to grab their phone or even an innocent—and perfectly legal—coffee cup, it takes precious seconds to return their hands to the wheel that may be equivalent to the delay caused by being under the influence of alcohol.

While it may be easy to prove whether the driver that hit you was under the influence of alcohol, or even drugs, proving that a driver was distracted is a little more complex. It is essential to gather as much evidence and information at the scene of your accident as possible. If you see any clues of distracted driving—such as a cellphone still in the driver’s hand, a video playing or even make-up being used at the wheel—you could point this out to the attending officer or even try to take photographic evidence without putting yourself in any danger. Evidence such as cellphone records and social media trails can also be used in personal injury cases based on distracted driving.

If you’ve suffered a personal injury due to a distracted driver on California’s roads, you’ll need a good car accident lawyer local to you. We can even arrange a video call to discuss the specifics of your situation and provide you with free, no-obligation legal advice tailored to you. Get in touch with one of our personal injury attorneys today.


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