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Why is drunk driving deemed more dangerous than distracted driving?

OK, we'll note right at the outset of today's blog post that it is not a unanimously held view that driving after drinking is an activity that is any more alarming than wholly distracting behind-the-wheel behaviors like texting.

After all, a person who is texting while driving is negotiating moving steel through traffic without even having his or her eyes on the road. How can anything be more dangerous than that?

Notwithstanding the immediately alarming nature of texting while driving, though, it seems reasonable to assume that most people don't view that activity as seriously as they do drinking-before-driving behavior.

After all, haven't most readers of this blog pulled up at an intersection from time to note to note a motorist in an adjacent lane texting, with eyes focused totally on his or her smartphone rather than on the road? And (truth be told), haven't most of us had to honk the horn more than once to prompt a deeply engaged texter in front of us to look up and, well, pay a modicum of attention to a now stale green light?

Such behavior understandably upsets most of us, but we're somewhat inured to it in 2016, right? Most of us don't pick up a phone ourselves and call 911 to report that it's happening in front of our face, do we?

But what if we see a driver in an adjacent lane who we suspect has been drinking or who we actually see consuming alcohol while behind the wheel? The concern level immediately ratchets up, doesn't it?

It's certainly a fair question to ask which activity yields more harm on Colorado and national roadways. Obviously, both drunk and distracted driving can yield adverse consequences, bur many more drivers engage in dangerously distracting behaviors that don't involve drinking than is the reverse case.

"Far more people are injured in distracted driving accidents than drunk driving," notes a commentator who was involved in a recent social experiment testing the public's assumptions regarding drinking while driving versus texting behind the wheel.

The results are interesting and point to what a media report on the experiment terms a "double standard."

We'll take a closer look at that report and the social testing conducted on some vehicle passengers in our next blog post.

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