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Is Drunk or Distracted Driving the Bigger Road Safety Threat?

The McClellan Law Firm

Our culture has been well-aware of the dangers of drunk driving for quite some time now and are beginning to hear more of a collective outrage against distracted drivers, as well. Some argue that distracted driving is even more of a threat to safety than an intoxicated driver.

What Is Distracted Driving?

Simply put, distracted driving occurs anytime a driver’s attention is off of the road. Three major types of distracted driving are manual, cognitive, and visual. Anything that takes the driver’s hands off the wheel, mind off the situation, or eyes off the road can be filed under those categories, respectively.

Distracted Driving Statistics

Drunk driving statistics have been researched for years. Huge databases of information are available to the public and millions are put into campaigns against drunk driving. Distracted driving, though it has been a problem for various reasons in the past, is rising due to the growing popularity of cell phones and portable technology within vehicles.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2013, there were 10,076 fatalities due to drunk driving. In contrast, that same year there were 3,154 fatalities due to distracted driving. Though the number of fatalities due to distracted driving are lower than the fatalities due to drunk driving, they are steadily increasing.

The following statistics concern the dangers of texting and distracted driving:

  • 25% of car accidents in the US are caused by texting while driving.
  • Texting and driving is 6 times more likely to get you in an accident than drunk driving.
  • A driver is distracted for an average of 5 seconds each time he or she reads a text.
  • On average, a driver travels the length of a football field in that 5 second period.
  • The chances of a crash are increased 23 times when texting.

Many states are being encouraged to ban all forms of cell phone communication while driving, including hands-free talking. This movement has proved controversial. Some think individuals should be able to control their own cell phone use in their own cars. Additionally, police officers express significant difficulty in enforcing texting bans. However, as fatality and injury numbers rise, hopefully people will wise up about the dangers of distracted driving and leave any distractions at home.

While texting and cell phone use is the most commonly thought of cause of distracted driving, other distracting dangers include loose pets in the car, fiddling with the radio, eating, talking to a passenger, and anything else that has the potential to cause an accident.

The Silent Danger of Distracted Driving

Though it is difficult to tell from statistics which danger is worse across the board, perhaps the greatest danger associated with distracted driving is that a large majority of drivers do it, without realizing how dangerous it can be. Drunk driving now faces a stigma and is discouraged everywhere. Distracted driving is difficult to define and difficult to penalize.

Our San Diego Car Accident Attorneys Are Here for You

Distracted driving can have devastating consequences. At The McClellan Law Firm, we hope to raise awareness of the dangers involved with distracted driving and help those who have suffered loss or injury due to this problem. For legal advice and client-focused representation, contact us today for a free initial consultation.