Drunk drivers have been considered the greatest dangers on the roads for many years. However, the arrival of texting, navigation, and other hands-free devices has resulted in many cases of accidents from distracted driving.

Some statistics show that drunk driving accidents have decreased, but distracted driving accidents have increased in recent years. While alcohol impairs cognitive function, having distractions around you while trying to drive can be more detrimental.

Anything from texting while driving, applying makeup, eating, or having rowdy children in the vehicle can constitute distracted driving. But which is more dangerous? Here we compare drunk driving with distracted driving:

What are the effects?

Having as little as 0.02% blood alcohol content can already affect your ability to track fast-moving objects. Even this small amount of alcohol can reduce your ability to multitask. 

Since driving is an act of multitasking in and of itself, this small amount of alcohol already proves dangerous. When ingesting more alcohol, driver’s skills decline even further, and can result in delays in reaction time as well as inability to recognize road signals.

Distracted driving is made up of the visual, manual, and cognitive aspects. The most common form of distracted driving is texting and driving and involves all the aspects of distracted driving. This is because you have to hold the phone, look at the phone, and think about what you are reading or writing. 

The content of texts can also affect your mood, leading to further distraction. However, it is important to remember that anything which requires you dividing your attention between driving and another activity could lead to distracted driving and subsequent accidents.

Punishments

If you are arrested for a DUI, it is important to get Kansas City DUI attorneys to represent your case. DUI can lead to charges and punishments such as license suspension, fines, jail time, and a permanent criminal record. 

Having a legal representative can aid in reducing the charges or punishments, and can be useful when protecting your future. Punishments vary depending on your state, but you should be sure to have the legal backing of a lawyer for your protection.

Similarly, distracted driving can be punishable by law. In 46 states, texting and driving is completely illegal. If you are arrested for texting and driving, Kansas City criminal attorneys can defend your case. 

However, it is important to note that your punishment could range between $20 and $10,000 fine. If someone is injured or killed in an accident from distracted driving, you could be fined $5000 to $20,000 and spend five to twenty years in prison.

Frequency, timing, and casualties

Drunk driving results in about 10,000 deaths and 300,000 injuries annually. Approximately 20% of accidents involve people aged 26-29, and most accidents involve men. Furthermore, most drunk driving accidents occur between midnight and 3 am, and on weekends. 

The average blood alcohol content in fatal accidents is almost double the legal limit, at 0.14%, and on rare occasions has been as high as 0.45%. Many night time drunk driving accidents involve only one driver and one vehicle.

Distracted driving, on the other hand, results in 3,500 deaths and 400,000 injuries annually. Most of the drivers involved are between 16 and 24, and most of these drivers are women. 

Most texting and driving accidents occur between am and 9 am, and then again between 12 midday and 6 pm. It is speculated that, in the US, at least 600,000 people are using an electronic device while driving at any given time. Further, weather conditions seem to play no role in the likelihood of a distracted driving accident, with about half occurring on dry roads and about half in icy or snowy conditions. 

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