Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer
If you’re the victim of a distracted driver, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver. A Distracted Driving Lawyer with the right resources can investigate the circumstances of your crash to find sufficient proof that their attention was elsewhere.
A growing number of car accidents in the United States are because of distracted driving. In fact, according to the National Safety Council report, cell phone use leads to 1.6 million crashes each. Further, nearly 400,000 injuries occur each year because of vehicle operators texting and driving. Still, distracted driving is more than texting—it’s anything that takes the driver’s attention away from safely operating a vehicle.
With modern vehicles and increasing technology, the number of distractions and car accidents are increasing exponentially.
Types of Driving Distractions
Because there are so many ways that you can become distracted, we’ve broken it down into overall categories that we will explore later. Generally speaking, distracted driving falls into the following:
- Manual distractions
- Visual distractions
- Cognitive distractions
According to the National Highway of Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 3,142 people were killed in distracted driving accidents in 2019.
Why is Distracted Driving a Growing Problem?
As cars become more modern, they are filled with all kinds of distractions, such a touch screens panels. In addition to vehicles coming equipped with more distractions, cell phone devices have become more than tools for communication, they are now also equipped to connect to our vehicles to play music or podcasts, have navigation systems and much more.
Other distractions that exist when operating a motor vehicle include the following:
- Talking to passengers
- Dealing with children
- Eating and drinking
- Applying makeup
- Fixing hair
All of the above fall into one of the broader categories of distractions mentioned above.
Distracted Driving Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2019 distracted driving contributed to:
- 15% of all police-reported traffic crashes
- 424,000 injuries
- 15% of injury crashes
As noted above, according to the latest data, 3,142 people were killed in distracted driving fatalities. Distracted driver fatalities equal:
- 6% of all drivers involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time.
- 9% of fatal crashes among drivers among 15 to 20 years old. (This age group has the largest proportion of distracted drivers.)
- 566 nonoccupants (pedestrians, pedal cyclists and others) were killed in distraction-affected crashes.
Categorizing Distracted Driving
Distracted driving can occur in several ways. It’s important for drivers to be aware of each how they can be distracted while operating a motor vehicle.
Visual distractions are any sort of distraction where a driver takes their eyes off the road. In some cases, visual distractions and manual distractions can overlap. Visual distractions might include the following:
- Reading on your cell phone
- Reading a tangible book or piece of paperwork
- Checking your appearance in the mirror
- Looking at a passenger while talking
- Admiring how cute your dog looks with their head hanging out of the window
- Looking at a map or (if you’re living in 2021) a navigation system
- Looking at a video on a device
A manual distraction occurs when a driver is distracted by something with their hands. Without the use of both hands on the steering wheel, you’re not in total control of your vehicle. The most common reason for manual distractions while driving are as follows:
- Taking a phone call
- Applying makeup
- Combing hair
- Adjusting or putting on clothing
- Adjusting the radio
Cognitive distractions are anything that takes a person’s mind off the road for an extended period of mind. These distractions aren’t physically present but are often just a person getting lost in their own thoughts or a conversation. Cognitive distractions can be any of the following:
- Highway hypnosis
- Getting lost in your own thoughts or emotions
- Caring for or disciplining your children
- Focusing on situations unrelated to driving
Laws Around Distracted Driving
Many states have laws concerning distracted driving. In most cases, these laws focus on cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle. Typically, these are criminal laws that range is level of severity depending on your state and the number of offenses. Generally speaking, the legal definition for what states consider distracted driving is when a driver does something that is not required to drive and actively impairs the ability to operate the vehicle in safely.
Specific statutes vary from state to state, however, most states have laws on the books that prohibit known distractions while operating a vehicle. A lawyer who handles distracted driving crashes in your state will be able to answer questions specific to your claim or lawsuit.
Primary vs Secondary State Laws
In the case of cell phones, many states have laws and statutes against using mobile devices while operating a motor vehicle. Depending on the state you live, may affect when and how an officer will cite you with you for using a cell phone.
- Primary Law States: If you live in a state with primary laws, then an officer will write you a ticket if they see using a handheld device while operating your vehicle.
- Secondary Law States: In these states, the officer will cite you for cell phone use after you’ve been pulled over for another offense such as speeding or failure to stop.
Texas is a primary law state. This means while you are driving, you cannot use a handheld device for any reason.
Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving Accidents
Avoid eating while driving
Prior to getting on the road, make sure you’ve had a good meal. If you need to eat while driving, make sure you park to do so.
Start getting ready earlier
Get up earlier or start your morning routine a little earlier so that you don’t have to finish doing your hair, adjusting your tie, applying makeup or any other personal grooming while driving.
Input GPS Coordinates Before You Drive
Sure, you know how to get out of your neighborhood, but inputting the address to your intended destination ahead of time will ensure that you’re not distracted while operating your vehicle.
Let Passengers Pick the Music
Relinquish some of your power and let passengers pick the music. In addition, the passenger can take the calls, read the GPS and adjust the AC while you focus on the road.
Set Your Cellphone to DND
Many devices have the option to silence calls, texts and other alerts while you’re driving. Go into your phone’s settings and set this up, so you never have to manually silence your phone when in the car.
Pull your vehicle over to eat, take a call, reset or read your GPS, change the music, etc. The best way to avoid a distracted driving crash is to wait until your vehicle is stopped.
Is it OK to Check My Phone at a Stoplight?
Research indicates that after a distraction, it takes up to 27 seconds for your brain to regain full attention on driving. This is true even when using a hands-free device. While operating a motor vehicle, it’s best to avoid any and all distractions to keep your mind fully on the task at hand.
Contact a Distracted Driving Lawyer
The Carlson Law Firm has the tools and resources to help you through your situation while pursuing a maximum from a distracted driving crash. When you hire a Distracted Driving Lawyer, we can request cell records, surveillance videos and other evidence that can help you in your claim or lawsuit against a distracted driver and their insurance company. While the laws may seem complicated, a civil lawsuit can help you obtain damages for loss of income, permanent disabilities, physical and mental therapy and more. We can help you through your recovery.
Call The Carlson Law Firm now to see just how much we care and how we can help. We are available 24 hours, seven days a week.
There's a Carlson Law Firm Near You
With over a dozen locations throughout Texas, there’s a Carlson Law Firm near you. We have law offices located in Killeen, Temple, Waco, Round Rock, Austin, San Antonio, Kerrville, Laredo, Bryan, Lubbock, Midland, and Corpus Christi.