Thousands of Americans die every year from drunk and distracted driving. In 2020, 324, 652 people experienced injuries in automobile accidents caused by distracted driving.
This means that Americans could have prevented 14% of all car accident injuries and all the 3,142 deaths caused by distracted driving.
Fatalities from distracted and drunk driving
Based on the above statistics, drinking and driving causes more fatalities than distracted driving. The higher fatality rate is typically due to the higher speeds and increased recklessness of drunk drivers. However, distracted drivers report checking cell phones at red lights and stop signs and while they are in stop-and-go or slow-moving traffic, so their speeds tend to be much slower. Cell phone reliance is often cited as the cause of these distractions.
Prevalence of distracted and drunk driving
No one can track every instance of distracted and drunk driving. However, surveys show that distraction has increased significantly due to technology and smartphone usage, and 51% of respondents stated that their distracted driving has increased. Everyone experiences distractions, but not everyone drinks. In fact, close to 30% of adults never touch a drop of alcohol. This suggests that there are more distracted than drunk drivers on the roads today.
Every state has a law against drunk driving. In fact, the highest blood alcohol level allowed is .08 in Utah, while most other states have a .05 limit. Not every state has a distracted driving law. In 24 states that have passed laws, they place limits on cellphone usage. Often, they focus on holding a phone while driving. Six additional states passed laws that partially ban hand-held phone usage while driving.
Distracted driving is dangerous, and states with lower traffic congestion and populations tend to have the highest rates of distracted driving.