Is Drunk or Distracted Driving the Deadlier Risk on the Road?

The decisions that people make before and during their daily commute can have a direct impact on whether they arrive safely at their destination or cause harm to other people. Two of the most well-known dangerous behaviors are drunk driving and distracted driving.

Despite widespread knowledge about the risks involved with both of these habits, many people still decide to get behind the wheel after having a few drinks or look down at their phone to read a message while driving. Obviously, as a safe driver, you already know that you shouldn’t be texting at the wheel or driving after you had several alcoholic beverages.

Keeping yourself safe on the road, however, doesn’t just require that you engage in safe driving practices yourself. You also have to be aware of the habits of other people. Is distracted driving or drunk driving the bigger threat for a potential crash on New York roads?

Statistics show that both distracted and drunk driving kills thousands annually

There is no question that both drunk driving and distracted driving are irresponsible and inherently dangerous behaviors that put other people at unnecessary risk. However, it is also clear that one of these two behaviors is more likely to lead to fatality.

It can be hard to know the exact prevalence of either drunk driving or distracted driving, as data gathered for statistics often depends either on self-reported behavior or analysis of crashes and arrests. With that context in place, it is clear that based on current reported statistics, drunk driving remains the more dangerous of the two behaviors.

How many people died in drunk driving crashes?

Multiple different federal agencies collect and analyze information on traffic collisions to promote better public safety. In 2018, the most recent year with analyzed statistics for traffic deaths available, there were 10,511 fatalities related to drunk driving.

In the same year, there were about 2,800 distracted driving deaths. While both of these bad behaviors caused multiple fatalities across the country every day, there is no question that drunk driving claimed far more lives than distracted driving did in 2018. Those who get hurt or lose a loved one due to drunk or distracted driving may have the right to take legal action against the driver responsible for the crash.