St. Pierre Law

Driving distracted or driving drunk: Which is worse?

It is no big deal for a driver to glance at his or her phone while cruising along the highway, right? Other people do it all the time, and no harm comes of it. After all, at least they aren't driving drunk.

This may have been your opinion until you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in an accident involving a distracted driver. Or perhaps your loved one was one of the nearly 11,000 who died in a single year from injuries suffered in a drunk driving accident. You may be like many who wonder which is more dangerous: drinking and driving or driving while distracted.

Comparing two serious problems

Safety experts persist in warning drivers that anything that takes their eyes off the road, their hands off the wheel or their minds off the task of operating their vehicles is a danger. Cell phones, car radios, GPS systems, food and drink, and other people in the vehicle are just a few things that may distract a driver. You may be among the nearly 400,000 whose lives changed after an accident caused by a distracted driver.

On the other hand, about 29 people die each day, more than one an hour, in drunk driving accidents. Even a small amount of alcohol slows a driver's reflexes, reduces visual function and may cause a driver to become confused about what to do when a dangerous situation arises, such as your vehicle crossing the path. It is true that drunk drivers cause more injuries and deaths each year, but the statistics may not tell everything.

The heart of the matter

While more people historically die in drunk driving accidents, the penalties for impaired driving are often severe, which seems to be working as a deterrent. The number of drunk driving accidents has been on the decline. Unfortunately, the same is not true for distracted driving. Penalties are often minor, and the number of distracted driving accidents is steadily rising.

It may not always be easy to determine if an accident resulted from distraction, but there are numerous ways to confirm when a driver has been drinking. Nevertheless, if you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a Massachusetts accident caused by someone else's negligence, impairment or distraction, you have the right to seek the answers you need and the compensation you deserve.

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