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Which is More Dangerous? Texting and Driving vs. Drinking and Driving

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Texting behind the wheel and drunk driving are dangerous activities. They both cause far too many preventable injuries and deaths. 

A California car accident attorney can talk to you and answer your questions about getting compensation for your losses if you got injured or a loved one died because of a car accident. Let’s explore the question of which is more dangerous? Texting and driving versus drinking and driving.

Comparing Fatalities Caused by Distracted Driving and Drunk Driving

If the number of fatalities caused by the activity is the only measure of how dangerous the conduct is, drunk driving is the dubious winner. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 10,142 people lost their lives because of drunk driving crashes in 2019. Distracted driving, on the other hand, killed 3,142 people in the same year.

Texting while driving is like driving with your eyes closed periodically. Let’s say that you took a mere five seconds to read or send a text. If you were driving 55 miles per hour, you just drove the length of a football field without looking. Drunk driving, on the other hand, involves a driver who is impaired without the ability to snap back to attention.

How the Two Behaviors Affect the Driver

A texting driver has short bursts of extremely dangerous conduct and can sometimes take evasive action to avoid a crash at the last second. Texting involves disengaging from the act of driving in two different ways. 

One, when the texting driver’s eyes are not looking at the road, the driver may as well be wearing a blindfold. Two, a texting driver is mentally distracted by the content of the communication with whoever is at the other end of the text message. The driver has to suddenly reengage both visually and mentally to avoid a collision.

A person impaired by alcohol, on the other hand, will have a slower reaction time and might unable to process the events and select the appropriate evasive action to prevent an accident. Also, some drunk drivers fall asleep or pass out at the wheel, causing a danger to all in their path.

Who Can Be Liable in a Crash Involving a Texting or Drunk Driver

Driving while impaired by alcohol and texting while driving are both negligent behaviors. When a person causes an accident because of negligent conduct and the accident injures someone else, the careless party can be liable for the harm done to the injured person.

Some of the common money damages sought in these personal injury claims include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. Other losses will depend on your situation and can involve things like disfigurement from extensive scars, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and loss of enjoyment of life if you have impairment from your injuries. 

California does not give you much time to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for personal injuries. If you miss the deadline, the law will forever bar you from holding the negligent party accountable. You will want to talk to a California personal injury attorney right away to preserve your right to compensation for your injuries. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help, contact our office today to request a free consultation.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.