Drunk, Distracted, and Tired Driving. Which is the Worst?

road at night

Drunk, Distracted, and Tired Driving. Which is the Worst?

When passing a car accident on the side of the road, many people think to themselves, “What happened?

There are many reasons for car accidents, but what is the “worst” cause?  We hear about the results of drunk, distracted, drugged or exhausted drivers every day in the news reports. The following facts lead to some surprising answers:

The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission (LHSC) provides crash data statistics.  There were 664 fatal crashes and 739 people killed on Louisiana roadways in 2014, according to newly finalized data. This represents an increase of 2 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively, since 2013 — although crashes and fatalities are down considerably (about 26 percent) overall since 2007.

road at nightDRUNK DRIVING:

Drunk drivers are more than 380x more likely to play a part in a crash.

Every 51 minutes, someone dies in an accident with a drunk driver. This equates to nearly 30 deaths in the United States each and every day.

Children and passengers are also innocent victims. Of all the traffic deaths among children ages 0-14, 17% involved an alcohol-impaired driver.  Over 50% were riding in the car with that impaired driver.



Distracted driving activities include things like using a cell phone, texting, and eating. Using in-vehicle technologies (such as navigation systems) can also be sources of distraction. But, because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction.


After alcohol, marijuana is a common cause in accidents.

Research studies have shown negative effects of marijuana on drivers, including an increase in lane weaving, poor reaction time, and altered attention to the road. Use of alcohol with marijuana made drivers more impaired, causing even more lane weaving.1–3

It is difficult to determine how specific drugs affect driving because people tend to mix various substances, including alcohol. But we do know that even small amounts of some drugs can have a measurable effect


Drowsy drivers don’t attract as much public opprobrium as drunk or distracted drivers, but maybe they should.

According to a newly released survey of 2,000 motorists by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 41 percent of drivers admitted they had “fallen asleep or nodded off” while driving at least once.

Moreover, one in four motorists admitted they had driven when they were “so sleepy that they had a hard time keeping their eyes open” within the past month.


Statistically, it looks like drunk drivers are the most dangerous, but more and more people are driving distracted, texting while driving, and driving under the influence of drugs. In the near future, those types of dangerous drivers could overtake drunk driving as the most dangerous on the road.

Ten years from now, will we look upon texting while driving with the same lack of social tolerance that we do toward drinking and driving today?

Another important question is, how will the increasing trend of legalized marijuana and medical marijuana use affect laws where a person causes a car accident while impaired by pot?

If you are a loved one have suffered an injury in Opelousas, Louisiana, or have been injured in a car accident, the Louisiana Law Firm of L. Clayton Burgess is committed to representing those who have been seriously hurt or suffered a wrongful death involving someone else’s negligence or intentional actions. An experienced personal injury attorney can provide you with an initial consultation FREE of charge to you regardless of whether you retain our services.

Don’t Delay, Call Clay!