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Is distracted driving as dangerous as drunk driving?

With the advancement of technology and the ever-growing ways to stay connected with those around the globe, it is difficult to not rely on and almost constantly use these forms of mobile technologies. While items such as mobile phone make it easy to talk, send emails, search the internet, send texts and play games, there are times when it is not suitable to use cell phones. One instance is while an individual is driving; however, the growing number of texting-and-driving accidents makes it a more concerning issue that other forms of reckless and distracted driving in West Virginia and elsewhere.

Is distracted driving as dangerous as drunk driving? According to recent national statistics, the number of fatal accidents caused by a drunk driver between 2005 and 2012 decreased 28 percent. During the same time period, the number of drivers observed to be using their phone while driving rose 650 percent, and between 2005 and 2008, the number of fatalities caused by distracted drivers increased 28 percent.

Based on this data, 3,328 people were killed in a crash involving a distracted driver in 2012. During that same year, 10,322 individuals were killed in alcohol-related crashes. Based on a recent survey, roughly 20 percent of high schoolers claim they have ridden with a drunk driver, while around half of all adults and teenagers stated that they have ridden in a vehicle while the driver was texting and driving.

While the number of fatalities caused by drunk drivers is larger than those by distracted drivers, the trend today indicates that distracted driving is becoming more dangerous that drunk driving. Nonetheless, both drunk driving and distracted driving pose major risks on the roadway and could be the cause of a serious or fatal car accident. Those harmed in such a collision could place liability on a negligent driver, helping them collect compensation for their injuries, damages and losses.

Source: Huffington Post, "Drunk vs. Distracted Driving in DC and the 50 States," Kat Haselkorn, Dec. 16, 2014

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