Distracted Driving Car Accidents
It is vital for drivers to keep their full attention on the road while operating a vehicle. Research reveals that at least nine people die and 100 more are injured every day in distracted driving car accidents. These fatalities are completely preventable when safe driving behaviors are observed.
Driving is a skill that requires training and coordination. Driving distractions typically fall into one or more of the below categories:
- Visual – requiring drivers to take their eyes off the road
- Manual – making drivers take their hands off the wheel
- Cognitive – leading a driver’s attention elsewhere, even if their eyes are still on the road
Cell Phone Use While Driving
There are a number of activities that can take a driver’s attention away from the road. As we become increasingly dependent on smart phones, it becomes more difficult to put them down while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 660,000 drivers using cell phones or other electronic devices are on the road at any given point during daylight hours. Drivers who use cell phones are approximately four times as likely to get in a serious car accident than those who do not; this behavior is most common in younger drivers aged 16 to 24, who are the least experienced drivers on the road.
Many drivers are trying to avoid this trap by using infotainment systems installed in their dashboards. Operating the car’s sound system, using navigational systems, and even texting and phone calls can all be done using voice controls and buttons on the steering wheel. While they may not require drivers to take their hands off the wheel, they still force drivers to take their eyes and attention away from driving. Glancing at a text or an app may only take a second, but that may be all it takes to cause an accident.
Laws regarding cell phone use while driving vary from state to state, but many have enacted bans on texting or talking while driving. Employers whose workers are required to drive are also getting involved, some banning the use of hands-free devices as well. The NHTSA is partnering with state and local governments in a campaign to make drivers aware of the dangers of cell phone use while driving, which can include hefty fines in some areas.
Other Distractions on the Road
The use of electronic devices is not the only thing keeping drivers from focusing on the road. Other distractions include:
- Eating and drinking
- Applying makeup
- Smoking a cigarette or e-cigarette
- Conversing with passengers
- Tending to children
Distracted drivers engage in numerous unsafe driving behaviors, including:
- Speeding or driving slower than the traffic flow
- Swerving or drifting between lanes
- Changing lanes without enough space
- Failing to signal when turning
These behaviors may not be intentional, but when the driver takes his or her focus from the task at hand, they may not have the control they need to operate the vehicle safely.
Liability in a Distracted Driving Accident
Distracted drivers lower their ability to react to hazards on the road, making them a danger to themselves, other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. When an accident involving a distracted driver occurs, the driver may be held liable for any injuries or fatalities that occur. It is important to thoroughly document the circumstances of the accident in order to prove that the driver was at fault. This can include witness statements, police reports, or even accident reconstruction at the scene; if the driver was using a cell phone, their call log or text records may be entered into evidence.
Philadelphia Accident Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Provide Comprehensive Representation to Victims of Distracted Driving Accidents
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident involving a distracted driver, call the experienced personal injury lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Our team has a thorough understanding of the laws regarding distracted driving, and we are committed to holding those responsible for your injuries accountable. We will be by your side through every step of the process to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, and Pinehurst, we help distracted driving accident victims throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and North Carolina. Call us today at 888-999-1962 or contact us online for a free consultation with a Philadelphia car accident lawyer.