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Drunk Driving vs. Distracted Driving – Which Is Worse?

With the holiday season in full swing, people are busy with holiday parties and catching up with old friends who are back in town. Many times these social activities take place at bars, restaurants, or people’s homes where alcohol is being served.

No one wants to put a damper on all this holiday cheer by driving after they’ve have too much to drink, or causing a car accident by engaging in other risky behaviors. I wanted to take a moment to warn New Jersey drivers, and anyone on the road, of the dangers of driving while intoxicated, and distracted driving.

There is an on-going debate over which is more dangerous – texting while driving, or driving while intoxicated. A recent Car and Driver test compared the two, and the results are sobering. The test compared how long it took a driver to brake when sober, when legally impaired with a BAC of .08, when reading an email, and while sending a text. The results are as follows:

  • Unimpaired – .54 seconds to brakeDrunk Driving vs. Distracted Driving
  • Legally drunk – add 4 feet
  • Reading an email – add 36 feet
  • Sending a text – add 70 feet

We all know that driving while intoxicated is illegal. Nevertheless, people choose to get behind the wheel of a car after having had too much to drink. Driving while intoxicated, while against the law, also adds precious seconds to a driver’s reaction time. Unfortunately, those extra few seconds can be lethal.

In the same way that alcohol impairs a driver’s ability to respond to hazards on the road, distracted driving, most notably driving while sending or receiving a text message or email, can be just as dangerous, if not more so.

Injured By a Drunk or Distracted Driver?

If you or someone who love was injured in New Jersey by a drunk driver or a distracted driver, it is important that you contact an experienced New Jersey car accident injury attorney as soon as possible. Because injuries caused by drunk or distracted drivers can be catastrophic, it is important that you choose an attorney you trust, who will give you the personal attention you deserve, and who has the experience and resources to get the job done right.

What should I do after a car accident?

  • Pull Over. If you were involved in a car accident, stop your vehicle and pulling to the side of the road.
  • Assist Anyone Who Is Injured. Check with your passengers and people in the other vehicle to see if anyone was hurt. You may need to call 9-1-1 for medical assistance. Make any injured people comfortable and offer reasonable assistance, but do not move them unless you are a trained medical professional.
  • Call Law Enforcement. If someone was injured, or if you believe the other driver is intoxicated, call 9-1-1. A police officer will come to the scene to assist you in making an unbiased record of who is at fault, and to determine whether the other driver was legally intoxicated.
  • Exchange Information. Share your name, address, driver’s license number, vehicle registration number, and insurance information with the other driver and any passengers. However, do not offer any opinions as to who caused the accident. Remember, ANY STATEMENT YOU MAKE ABOUT THE ACCIDENT, WHETHER SPOKEN OR IN WRITING, CAN BE USED AGAINST YOU.
  • Witnesses. Try to obtain the name, telephone number, and address of any witnesses who might have information about the crash.
  • Take Notes. Complete the police officer’s accident information form and diagram, and take your own notes about the collision. Use the camera on your phone to take pictures of your car, the other car, the scene of the crash, and any injuries. Even after the crash, continue to keep your own notes about the accident, including what happened, who you think was at fault, and anything the other driver or witnesses said.
  • See a doctor. Even if you do not think you were seriously injured, it’s a good idea to see a doctor. You may not have symptoms for hours or even days after the crash. When you do see a doctor, explain that you were involved in a car accident and that the accident caused your injuries.
  • Notify the Insurance Companies. Report the accident to your insurance company.You can ask your insurance company to pay for damage to your car. Also contact the other driver’s insurance company to notify them of the accident. However, any time you talk to insurance company representatives, remember that the insurance company is not on your side. Do not discuss your injuries with anyone other than your attorney and your medical providers. You do NOT need to provide an interview or make a recorded statement, and never sign anything without talking your attorney first.
  • Keep Records.Keep notes about the accident, including your injuries, symptoms, and any bills or expenses you incur because of the accident.

Contact a New Jersey Car Accident Attorney

If you were hurt in a car accident with a drunk or distracted driver, or any kind of car crash, you may be able to recover money, or what attorneys call damages, for your injuries. Damages may include:

  • medical expenses
  • lost wages
  • pain and suffering
  • property damage
  • punitive damages, in some cases

If you or someone you love was hurt or killed in a car crash, contact me today to help you obtain the compensation you need and deserve.

From my office in Yardville, New Jersey, I represent people throughout central New Jersey, including Middlesex County, Burlington County, and Mercer County. Call me at (609) 587-3250, or complete my online form.