For years, if you asked Americans about the number 1 safety threat on the highway, most would have told you that it was drunk driving. That outlook is part of the reason that drunk driving accidents have become less common each decade. People know the risks that it poses and they either refrain from it themselves or try to intervene with those who attempt to get behind the wheel while intoxicated.
Showing just how much things have changed, a recent study asked adult Americans -- those over 18 -- what they thought was the No. 1 threat. The majority of them, at 55%, picked distracted driving.
That does not mean they no longer recognized that drunk driving is a risk itself. About a third of them (31%) still ranked it as their top concern. Beyond that, 11% picked either speeding or aggressive driving.
But it does mean that there is an awareness of just how bad distracted driving has gotten in the age of the smartphone. Most people think they're more likely to get seriously injured or killed by a driver who is typing a text message or browsing social media than by a driver who had one too many beers and tried to get home for the night.
Part of their fear could be that distracted driving happens all day long. Many drunk driving accidents happen at night, making them easier to avoid. After all, this study asked people to rank them -- without using stats -- so it really just tells you what they fear the most.
If you get injured in an accident with a distracted driver, you need to know what legal rights you have.