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Drunk Driving vs. Distracted Driving: The Effects and Risks are Similar

Drunk driving and distracted driving are two of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents. While the risks of drunk driving have long been well-known, studies have recently identified distractions as equally-dangerous causes of driver impairment.

3 Forms of Driver Impairment Caused by Intoxication and Distractions

Alcohol intoxication and distractions both affect drivers in three primary ways. While each of these forms of impairment presents additional risks, when combined, they substantially increase a driver’s risk of causing an accident:

  • Cognitive Impairment – Even low-level alcohol intoxication can significantly impair a person’s ability to make safe decisions behind the wheel. Likewise, when a driver is focused on reading or responding to a text message, studies have shown that he or she is incapable of devoting full attention to the road ahead.
  • Manual Impairment – Drunk drivers are less coordinated and they have slower reaction times. This makes it much more difficult to avoid putting others in dangerous situations and to take evasive action in the event of a potential collision. Drivers who are using their phones, setting GPS directions, grooming, or eating or drinking behind the wheel are likewise less capable of physically maintaining control of their vehicles.
  • Visual Impairment – Drinking to excess can cause muscle weakness and neurological disruptions in the eyes, and it can also cause migraines and sensitivity to light that make it difficult to see clearly. Drivers who are looking at their phones, in-car technology and visor mirrors are not looking at the road, and focusing on a small screen can limit a person’s field of vision similar to the effects of intoxication.

While the effects of drunk driving and distracted driving are similar, due to the prevalence of driving distractions, distracted driving has become a leading cause of serious and fatal accidents in recent years. Both teens and older adults are susceptible to distractions; and, while the common perception is that teen drivers are more likely to text and drive, a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study found that adults were “by far the likeliest age group to admit to using their phone while driving.”

Were You Injured by a Drunk or Distracted Driver?

In the aftermath of an auto accident, it is not always (or even often) easy to figure out what went wrong. While some drivers will be obviously intoxicated, and while some may admit to texting at the time of the crash, it often takes a forensic investigation to determine the specific factors involved in a collision. If you have been injured in an accident, it is not important that you know whether the driver who hit you was drunk or distracted. What is important is that you seek medical attention promptly and that you engage a local personal injury law firm to investigate the accident as soon as possible.

Contact the Denver Auto Accident Lawyers at Levine Law

Our attorneys provide experienced legal representation for auto accident victims in the Denver area. We have a proven record of success, and we take a personalized and aggressive approach to every case we handle. If you have been injured in an accident, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. To speak with an attorney, call  303-333-8000 or inquire online today

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