How often have you sat at a stoplight after it turned green because the person ahead of you was looking at his or her cell phone instead of the light? Drivers who are distracted by their cell phones and other electronic devices are not just more likely to miss a traffic signal as it changes, but they are more likely to cause catastrophic accidents, as well. If you have been in a motor vehicle accident caused by the negligence of a distracted driver, you may be able to collect compensation for the damages and injuries that they caused. Our experienced distracted driving accident lawyers can help you understand your legal options.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is driving while anything is diverting the driver’s attention. That may include eating, talking, drinking, taking care of children, daydreaming, or something else. Statistics show that distracted driving caused by the use of handheld cell phones triples a person’s risk of causing a car accident.
If you or one of your loved ones has been in a motor vehicle accident caused by someone who was driving while distracted, you need to seek legal counsel immediately. Talk to an experienced lawyer before you talk to an insurance adjuster or sign any documents relating to the accident. While an insurance adjuster may claim to be on your side, his or her job is to look out for the best interests of the insurance company, and the company’s interest is to make money, not protect your rights.
Categories of Distracted Driving
While you may know that driving while distracted means that the driver was engaging in another activity that took his or her focus away from the road, there are different types of distracted driving. All of these varieties of distracted driving impair a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. Distracted driving falls into three primary categories:
- Visual Attention – If a driver’s eyes are taken off the road and turned to something else, it is considered a visual distraction. Perhaps they turned to look at a passenger, read a map, or review a GPS navigation system. Whatever the reason, these are all examples of distractions that would impact the visual attention of the driver. Looking away from the road for even a few seconds is all it takes for a driver to miss a traffic signal, fail to notice a change in the flow of traffic, or not see an obstacle in the road. All of these things can result in a crash.
- Mental Attention – This is sometimes also called cognitive attention and refers to the driver’s mind being focused somewhere other than on driving. There are a variety of things that may impact the mental attention of a driver, including talking to a passenger, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving while sleepy, or even simply day-dreaming. Failing to have your mental attention on the road will impact your reaction time and judgment and increase the likelihood that you will be in an accident.
- Manual Attention – This type of attention refers to having the driver’s hands on the wheel. When a driver takes even one hand off the wheel, he or she will not be able to respond as quickly in the event of a road hazard or emergency. A driver who has one or both hands off the wheel is also more likely to lose control of the vehicle, especially if he or she needs to react quickly to something. Using a hand-held cell phone, grooming, eating, or simply talking and using your hands are all distractions that can impact manual attention.
Distracted Driving and Cell Phones
An estimated 660,000 people are texting or talking on their cell phones or using another type of electronic device while driving during daylight hours, and using a hands-free device is not a lot safer than using one that is handheld.
The percentage of drivers who use hand-held devices is highest during rush hour times than at any other time during the day. Drivers are also more likely to hold a hand-held device to their ear when they have no passengers in the car or when their passengers are under the age of eight.
Although cell phone use may be one of the most serious types of distracted driving, there are other types of distracted driving that result in motor vehicle accidents. These may include eating and drinking, using a GPS system, smoking, reading maps and other materials, adjusting the radio or other accessories on the car, grooming and applying makeup, dealing with children, and talking to passengers in the vehicle. Ultimately, any activity that takes the attention of the driver away from the road and on to something else could be considered distracted driving. Distracted driving puts the driver, passengers, other drivers on the road, bicyclists, pedestrians, and others at risk.
Distracted Driving Liability
If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident that was caused by the negligence of a driver who was driving while distracted, you may be able to obtain compensation for your injuries from the distracted driver. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to advise you of your legal options.
Your lawyer will work with investigators, accident reconstruction experts, and other professionals to establish the cause of the accident and prove that the distracted driver was at fault for your injuries. We can visit the scene of the accident, interview witnesses, and even obtain cell phone records to prove what contributed to the accident. All of these things can help prove your claim and increase the likelihood that you will get the compensation to which you are entitled.
Contact an Experienced Distracted Driving Lawyer Today
If you have suffered injuries and damages due to a person who was driving while distracted, regardless of what they were doing at the time of the accident that made them distracted, contact the lawyers at Preszler Injury Lawyers today. Let us handle the insurance companies so you can focus on your recovery