The Deadliest Driving Behavior; What’s the Worst Type of Driver?

Every year, more than 30,000 people are killed in motor vehicle accidents in the United States. What causes these accidents? There are many causes of car accidents, but the most common are distracted driving, drunk driving, drowsy driving, and drugged driving. Of these, which is the most deadliest driving behavior? The answer could surprise you.

Drunk Drivers

For years, the American public denied how dangerous drunk driving truly was. It wasn’t until the last several decades that laws regarding drunk driving began to stiffen - and for good reason. Drunk drivers are more than 380x more likely to be involved in a crash. This statistic is true for any driver who’s BAC is 0.15 or higher. For drivers who have a BAC between 0.10 and 0.14, they are 48x more likely to be involved in a car accident than their sober peers. Drivers who have a BAC between 0.05 and 0.09 are 11x more likely to crash than a sober driver.

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.

Of all the traffic deaths among children ages 0-14, 17% involved an alcohol-impaired driver and over 50% were riding in the car with that impaired driver.

Texting Drivers

Drivers who routinely get behind the wheel of a vehicle and text message are 23x more likely to be involved in a crash or near-crash event. When you text and drive, you take your eyes off of the road for an average of 5 seconds. If you are driving on a freeway, that’s enough time to travel the length of a football field.

Texting drivers are responsible for 1,600,000 accidents per year, according to the National Safety Council. This represents 25% of all car accidents in the United States.

Texting and driving is responsible for 11 teen deaths every day and more than 333,000 injuries every year.

Further Reading: What’s The Most Common Type of Car Accident?


A drowsy driver, or someone who has had less than 5 hours of sleep a night, is 5x more likely to be involved in a crash. When drivers get 8 hours or more of sleep per night, that number drops significantly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy drivers cause 100,000 crashes each year. This results in 1,500 deaths and 71,000 injuries.

Drowsy drivers are more likely to be young adults, adults with young children, or shift workers.

More than 60% of adult drivers (168 million drivers) said that they have driven a car while drowsy this year. More than 103 million drivers have admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel - 13% of those drivers routinely fall asleep at the wheel at least once a month.

Drugged Drivers

Drivers who smoke marijuana before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle are 2x more likely to be involved in a crash. In 2013, a National Survey on Drug Use and Health uncovered that 9.9 million people drove under the influence of illicit drugs in the year prior to being surveyed. This includes marijuana, cocaine, and other illegal drugs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that more than 22% of all drivers tested positive for illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter drugs.

In 2009, the NHTSA reported that 18% of all drivers killed in an accident tested positive for at least one drug.

Most common drugs used while driving include: marijuana, Xanax, Vicodin, OxyContin, and Valium.

So Which One of These Is the Most Dangerous Driver?

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.

Contact Our Denver Car Accident Attorneys

If you or someone you love is involved in a car accident with a drunk driver, a drowsy driver, a distracted driver, or a drugged driver, you have a right to seek compensation for your injuries.