What is More Dangerous: Drunk or Distracted Driving?


Driving while drunk or on drugs has been a top cause of fatal and injury-causing car accidents for decades, but a new form of negligence could soon make the list: Distracted driving. According to Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT), an analytics company that focuses on driving behaviors, 75% of motorists in a survey reported that they see other drivers on their phones every single day. Though they are both against the law and increase the potential for serious crashes, the question remains: Is drunk or distracted driving more dangerous?

Statistics regarding these behaviors reveal a lot about the hazards, but it is fortunate that the answer does not affect your rights as the victim of a collision. You may still be entitled to recover compensation for your losses, and an Alaska car accident lawyer can assist you. An overview on drunk versus distracted driving may be informative.


Drunk Versus Distracted Driving by the Numbers

Of the 700 individuals surveyed by CMT, 63% stated that they are more concerned about the threat posed by distracted driving than impaired motorists. The actual number of fatalities is greater for drunk driving, at almost 10,500 per year compared to 3,300 deaths linked to motorists on their cell phones. However, additional figures demonstrate that these fears may be well-founded:

  • It takes an average, sober driver .54 seconds to apply the brakes to avoid an accident. A drunk driver is slower, adding about four feet to reaction time. For a motorist who is texting, the additional reaction time adds around 70 feet.
  • Talking, texting, and other phone use is a factor in around 52% of all crashes.
  • There are around 290,000 victims injured in DUI crashes every year, but around 391,000 people hurt because of distracted driving.
  • Just 39% of survey respondents indicate that state statutes on distracted driving affect their driving behaviors, meaning the remaining 61% do not feel obliged to follow the law.


Effects on the Driver

In general, alcohol slows down a driver’s capabilities, with a decline in visual functions starting at approximately .02% blood alcohol concentration (BAC). With higher BAC levels, a motorist has difficulty performing two tasks at once, cannot recognize another car’s turn signal, and has difficulty maintaining lane position.

When a driver is texting, it disrupts three key functions: The visual, manual, and cognitive abilities of the motorist – all of which are critical to safe driving. Since it takes an estimated five seconds to read or respond to a message, texting while driving is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field at 55 miles per hour while blindfolded.


Learn More from a Knowledgeable Alaska Car Accident Attorney

 If you were injured or lost a loved one because of another driver’s negligence, please contact Power & Power Law in Anchorage, Alaska to learn more about your legal options. We can schedule a free consultation to explain the claims process. Our lawyers are experienced in dealing with insurance companies and negotiating settlements, but we are ready to take your case to court to get the compensation you deserve.