Distracted Driving Accidents
Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of auto accidents today. At The Law Offices of Dianne L. Sawaya LLC, we’ve seen enough car accident cases involving distracted driving to know that this is a common habit for drivers, regardless of age, gender, or location. Distracted driving affects us all, but it’s important to make sure that these habits are kept in check, before they cause serious damage and personal injury.
Most drivers prefer to think that they’re not guilty of distracted driving habits. When you look at the driver in the lane next to you and see him using his rearview mirror to shave, your first thought is probably, “I’d never do that!”
But the truth is, we’re all guilty of distracted driving more than we realize. The U.S. Government site for distracted driving, Distraction.gov, defines distracted driving as “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety.”
This activity doesn’t have to be big in order to take your attention off of the road. Take a look at some of the most common types of distracted driving listed below, and see how many of these activities you’ve done while driving—and be honest!
- Texting or gaming on a cellphone or smartphone
- Talking on a cellphone (even with a hands-free device)
- Adjusting the in-car radio, heat/AC, wipers, or lights
- Adjusting an external mobile music player (such as an MP3 player or an iPod)
- Reading a map (including both paper maps and GPSs)
- Talking with other passengers in the car
- Eating or drinking
- Watching a video
- Putting on makeup
There are a lot of things that can be distracting when you’re behind the wheel. Some of these things aren’t exactly in your control; a sign flashing outside of a business, for example, or your kids fighting in the backseat, are two situations where your control is fairly limited. Note that fatigued driving can have many of the risks as distracted driving.
The Statistics behind the Real Problem
We are going to focus on the factors that are in your control, such as texting while driving or adjusting the radio. Even though drivers have the ability to eliminate these habits altogether while operating a motor vehicle, statistics show that a surprising number of drivers still engage in these risky behaviors.
According to Distraction.gov,
- 431,000 Americans were injured and 3,179 individuals were killed in 2014 because of distracted driving-related car accidents.
- Ten percent of drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 who were involved in fatal car accidents were reportedly distracted while driving at the time of the crash.
According to data from the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS),
- Around 5 percent of all drivers in the U.S. at any given time are holding their phones up to their ears to talk while operating a motor vehicle.
- During daylight hours, around 660,000 people at any time across the country are likely using some type of electronic device while driving.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation,
- Sending or receiving a text while driving takes your eyes off the road for about five seconds, on average. For a car driving at 55 mph, five seconds is enough time to travel the whole length of a football field.
Read our Infographic for more statistics.
As a victim, what are your rights?
If you’ve been the victim of a car accident caused by distracted driving, it’s important to know that you can be protected by filing a personal injury claim. Regardless of whether a driver is talking to people in the car or is texting while driving, if he or she is responsible for a crash that has injured other people, there are serious consequences.
As a victim of a crash, you could be entitled to financial compensation to cover the costs of medical bills, lost wages, and property damage to your vehicle, psychological damages and pain and suffering. Talk to your car accident attorney about whether punitive damages can apply. When another party is guilty of negligence that causes serious harm, U.S. driving laws aim to protect these innocent drivers, passengers, and bystanders.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident because another driver was distracted, be sure to contact a distracted driving attorney for more information about how you can receive injury compensation. At The Law Offices of Dianne L. Sawaya LLC, our experienced team of personal injury attorneys is dedicated to keeping the roads of Denver safe as well as protecting those who have been injured in distracted driving crashes. To set up a free consultation or to talk with one of our attorneys, call us today or fill out the short contact form on our website.