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The Different Types Of Dangerous Driving



While the results of drowsy, distracted and drunk driving are very similar, these three types of dangerous driving have very different legal consequences. It is important to understand the difference in order to protect your rights should you be arrested for DUI when you are not drunk. An experienced DUI attorney can use this information to help protect you from the harsh sentences that accompany a guilty verdict for drunk driving.

The Dangers of Drowsy, Distracted and Drunk Driving

Everyone agrees that drowsy, distracted and drunk driving are dangerous. Statistics show that hundreds of thousands of people are injured and thousands more die in accidents caused by each of these driving behaviors. However, wide discrepancies exist in the legal consequences for committing these acts.

Drowsy Driving

Drowsy driving is also referred to as sleep-deprived driving. Harvard Medical School estimates that 250,000 drivers fall asleep at the wheel every day, and 54 percent of drivers admit to drowsy driving at least once in the past year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) claims that approximately 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths occur in more than 100,000 drowsy driving accidents each year. Despite these statistics, drowsy drivers are rarely ticketed when no accident occurs.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is the act of driving while your attention is directed toward other tasks. Examples of tasks commonly performed while driving include the following:

  • Talking or texting on cell phones
  • Talking to passengers
  • Eating and drinking
  • Reading
  • Watching video displays

The NHTSA reports that 448,000 injuries and 5,474 deaths were the direct result of distracted driving in 2009. Laws against specific forms of distracted driving, such as texting while driving, have been enacted, but they usually carry only moderate fines but is still a serious infraction.

Drunk Driving

Drunk driving is the act of driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. It is the most dangerous form of impaired driving and carries the stiffest legal penalties. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), drunk driving resulted in 10,839 deaths in 2009. In addition, more than 1.4 million people were arrested for DUI that year. First-time DUI arrests commonly carry the following penalties:

  • Fines in the thousands of dollars
  • Loss of driving privileges
  • Court-ordered counseling
  • Possible jail time