Let’s face it; any form of irresponsible driving is dangerous and can be life-altering in a split second. Be it texting, drunk driving, or even talking on the phone while driving, all are equally risky to your life and that of others around you.
But which one is worse than the other, according to statistics? And how does each behavior impair the driver? This short yet comprehensive blog takes a deeper dive into the topic by comparing the two behaviors – texting and driving vs. drunk driving – side-by-side.
Before we get into the details, though, it is worth noting that you should not hesitate to contact an experienced car accident lawyer if you’ve been injured in either instance. An attorney will be able to guide you through every step of the legal process and help you recover damages for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.
What Constitutes Texting or Distracted Driving?
The first thing to understand about distracted driving is that there is no specific definition of what constitutes “texting” or “distracted driving.” The term has become so widely used that it is often applied to anything from reading an email to playing games on your smartphone.
However, when it comes to being safe behind the wheel, it doesn’t matter whether you’re using your cell phone as a GPS navigator or just sending text messages. What matters most is that you aren’t paying full attention to the road ahead.
Distracted driving includes eating, drinking, applying makeup, adjusting the radio, changing lanes, looking at maps, and more. These distractions take your focus away from the road ahead and put you in danger.
How Does Cell Phone Use Impair Your Driving Skills?
If you have ever driven with someone on their cell phone, you know that they tend to go slower than normal. They may also make mistakes like swerving out of lane or running red lights. It makes sense because they are focused on something else besides driving.
Essentially, motorists who use their phones while driving experience impaired performance on several tasks, including reaction time, memory recall, visual perception, and decision making. In addition to these cognitive functions, using a cellphone while driving impairs motor skills and increases the likelihood of accidents.
What Constitutes Drunk Driving?
Drunk driving refers to operating a vehicle after consuming alcohol or drugs. When people drink too much, they lose control over their senses and judgment. As a result, they cannot perform certain tasks such as driving safely.
Drunk driving is considered a crime and can lead to serious penalties. If you are arrested for DUI (driving under the influence), you could face fines, jail time, license suspension, and even loss of your car.
How Does Drunk Driving Impair Your Driving Skills?
When you drink alcohol, your ability to operate a vehicle becomes impaired. You may feel dizzy, confused, sleepy, or disoriented. You may also have trouble remembering things and making decisions.
In addition to these physical symptoms, drunk drivers exhibit poor judgment and decision-making skills. For example, they may speed up or slow down without warning, run stop signs, fail to yield right of way, and weave across traffic lanes.
As a result of these actions, drunk drivers may cause accidents and injuries.
Texting and Driving vs Drunk Driving: Which is More Dangerous?
Is texting and driving worse than drunk driving? The short answer is YES.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than intoxicated driving. But that’s not to erase the fact that both behaviors impair your abilities to drive safely.
Here are a few reasons the former is more dangerous:
- Texting is done by hand, which takes your eyes off the road, meaning you cannot see other vehicles around you.
- Texting requires you to look at your phone instead of the road ahead, putting you at risk of getting into an accident.
- You may be tempted to read messages when it feels like no one is watching. That means you will be distracted and less able to react if another driver cuts you off or runs a stop sign.
- Texting and driving is illegal in all 50 states, but drinking and driving is only unlawful if the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeds a particular limit.
- Texting while driving distracts you from what you need to do, such as paying attention to the road ahead.
Should I Contact An Attorney In Case Of a Distracted Driver Or Drunk Driver Accident?
If you were involved in a collision caused by someone else’s distracted driving or drunken driving, you should contact an attorney immediately. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. An experienced attorney will know how to handle this situation and help you get the best settlement possible.
The Law Offices of Elrod Pope provides free consultations to victims of distracted driving and DUI accidents. Call us today at 803-599-3080 or contact us online to schedule a free case review and consultation.
Distracted Driving vs Drunk Driving FAQs
What is Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)?
A BAC is a measurement of the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream measured in parts per hundred milliliters (ppm). The legal limit varies depending on where you live. In some states like South Carolina, it is 0.08 percent; in others, it is 0.10 percent.
Can you sue someone for texting and driving and causing a crash?
Yes! If you have been injured in a car crash caused by another person who was using their cell phone or text messaging device, you can sue them for damages and potentially receive compensation.
Why should I speak to an attorney before the adjusters?
After being in a car accident, you may receive offers from insurance companies to settle your claim out of court. However, you don’t want to accept any settlement before talking with your attorney first. Your lawyer can negotiate a better deal and ensure you receive fair compensation.