Distracted Driving vs. Drunk Driving: Which Is More Dangerous?

For years, drunk driving has been one of the major reasons for accidents on the road. With newer technology, we are finding that distracted driving is causing more and more accidents. It is time to compare distracted driving with drunk driving and see which one is more dangerous. And to be honest, both are bad, so don’t think anything but that!

Distracted Driving vs Drunk Driving

Statistics: Distracted Driving vs. Drunk Driving


  • Distracted Driving – In 2015, there were 3,477 deaths and 391,000 injuries
  • Drunk Driving – In 2015, there were 10,265 deaths and 290,000 injuries

The Lawbreakers

  • Distracted Driving – Women are more likely to text and drive than men. Also, drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 are more likely to be distracted while driving.
  • Drunk Driving – Of accidents involving alcohol, 20.7% of accidents involved drivers between the ages of 26 and 29. It is the opposite of distracted driving, as men are four times as likely as women to be involved in a fatal accident while drunk.

Effects On The Driver

  • Distracted Driving – There are three components that effect the driver: manual (removing your hands from the wheel), visual (taking your eyes off the road) and cognitive (when your mind is thinking about something other than driving). Texting while driving is the most common form of distracted driving and it combines all three of these components being effected. Sending a simple text takes about five seconds to do. If you are traveling at 55 mph, than you can make the length of a football field in that time frame.The 
  • Drunk Driving – The legal limit for your blood alcohol concentration is .08%. However, if you were to drink any amount of alcohol, it is going to have a negative effect on your ability behind the wheel. For instance, at .02% BAC, you experience a decline in visual functions and the ability to do two tasks at the same time. The higher the BAC results go, the further decline in more skills. 

When It Happens and How Often

Distracted Driving

  • The most common day for distracted driving crashes are Fridays (17.4%) and Saturdays (15.9%).
  • 660,000 people are using an electronic device while driving at any given time.
  • For distracted driving accidents between 2007 and 2015, more than 25% of them occurred between 3 pm and 5:59 pm. At 18.8%, times between 6 am and 8:59 am is next on the list. In third is between 12 pm and 2:59 pm, which is 17.1%.
  • Of those accidents, 45.5 % of them occurred on dry roads and 40.3% happened during snowy or icy conditions.
  • Adding to it, 59% of the accidents had some form of distracting behavior in the six seconds leading up to the crash.

Drunk Driving

  • Most drunk driving crashes happen during the weekend, which starts at 6 pm on Friday and ending at 6 am on Sunday.
  • The most common time for drunk driving accidents is between midnight and 3 am.
  • Of those fatal nighttime accidents in 2015, 28% of them were due to drunk driving. That drops to 15% during the week. Also, 42% of the nighttime fatal crashes involved only one vehicle.
  • For the BAC, the most common is 0.14% for fatal accidents. This is nearly twice the legal limit.

So, which do you think is more dangerous: distracted driving or drinking and driving?

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Source: The Zebra