The Impact of Distracted Driving: A Legal Perspective
The Impact of Distracted Driving: A Legal Perspective by a Car Accident Attorney
Distracted driving is a serious issue that leads to countless accidents every year. It involves any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating, drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, or fiddling with the stereo or navigation system. A shocking statistic from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals that in the U.S alone, approximately 9% of all fatal crashes in recent years were reported as distraction-related.
Understanding Distracted Driving
There are three main types of distractions: Visual, Manual, and Cognitive.
- Visual distractions cause you to take your eyes off the road.
- Manual distractions make you take your hands off the wheel.
- Cognitive distractions take your mind off what you’re doing.
Examples could include a text message causing visual and manual distraction, adjusting the radio causing manual distraction, or simply being lost in thought, causing cognitive distraction.
Distracted Driving and the Law
Distracted driving is defined by law as any non-driving activity a person engages in while operating a motor vehicle. Such activities have the potential to distract the person from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of an accident. These laws vary by state, with some having complete bans on handheld devices while driving, and others having specific restrictions for novice drivers or school zones. The penalties for violating these laws also vary, with consequences ranging from fines to license suspensions.
The Effect of Distracted Driving on Car Accident Claims
Distracted driving plays a significant role in the determination of fault in an accident. If it can be proven that a driver was distracted at the time of the accident, they can be held liable for any damage or injury that occurred. This can also significantly impact the compensation claim, with the victim potentially receiving higher compensation due to the negligent behavior of the distracted driver.
Proving Distracted Driving in a Car Accident Claim
Proving distracted driving can involve the collection of various pieces of evidence, from cell phone records to CCTV footage. Eyewitnesses also play a vital role in confirming whether a driver was distracted. More recently, technology has become an instrumental tool in these cases, with the use of devices that can detect recent phone activity or even in-vehicle data recorders.
The Role of a Car Accident Attorney in Distracted Driving Cases
The best car accident attorneys can be invaluable in helping victims navigate the complex legal landscape following a distracted driving accident. They can assist in collecting evidence, interpreting the law, negotiating with insurance companies, and representing victims in court. The process typically begins with a consultation, followed by an investigation into the accident, and then the filing of a claim or lawsuit if necessary.
Ways to Prevent Distracted Driving
As drivers, it’s essential to prioritize focus on the road. Suggestions include:
- Setting your navigation and playlist before you start driving
- Keeping your phone out of reach
- Not eating or drinking while driving
Technological advancements also offer potential solutions, with many new vehicles including features designed to minimize distraction, like hands-free phone connectivity and advanced driver assistance systems.
The dangers of distracted driving extend far beyond the potential for an accident. The legal implications can be severe and long-lasting. It’s vital for all drivers to understand these risks and make a conscious effort to avoid distractions. If you or a loved one is a victim of a distracted driving accident, seeking the help of a car accident attorney can be the first step towards ensuring your rights are protected.