Difference between Distracted Driving and Drunk Driving

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The difference between distracted driving and drunk driving is the difference between distraction or impairment. In any case, you should be focused on driving safely when you are behind the wheel of a car. A large number of people are injured daily in a crash involving a distracted driver. Distractions while driving can be –

• Visual – You are unable to keep your eyes on the road
• Physical – Your hands are off the wheel
• Cognitive – You mind wanders while driving

Distracted Driving
While driving, your attention should be on the road and controlling your vehicle. However, your smartphones and gadgets can cause you to easily become distracted. You may want to answer an incoming phone call or text while driving. Being involved in any other activity while driving can distract you.

Distracted driving can cause the same consequences as drunk driving. If you cause an accident because you were distracted, you may face the same legal implications as a drunk driver, including –

• fines
• loss of your driver’s license
• criminal charges resulting in a misdemeanor or felony
• jail time
• increased insurance premiums

While a fender bender may result in a fine, serious injury can result in stiff consequences.

Distracted Driving vs Drunk Driving
Both distracted driving and drunk driving result in a large number of crashes and deaths.

The most common form of distracted driving is texting. Texting results in all – cognitive, visual and physical – distractions at once. Eyes and mind off the road can prove fatal.

When you are driving, it is best to turn the phone (or at least the ringer) off so that you can stay focused on the road.

Author Photo

Kerry L. Armstrong


Attorney Kerry Armstrong opened up his law firm in June 2007. Mr. Armstrong attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, California, and received his B.S. from Middle Tennessee State University. Kerry L. Armstrong became certified by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization for criminal law in August 2020, making him one of the few criminal defense attorneys with a criminal law legal specialization certificate in San Diego County.  Between 2014 – 2019, Mr. Armstrong was selected for inclusion in the California Super Lawyers list, an honor only awarded to 5% of the nation’s attorneys.

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