Driving is second nature to most people, even those who have been doing it for just a short amount of time. However, driving is an act that requires a great deal of concentration and focus. Just think about all of the driving assist features that automakers have been adding to their cars over the years; features like emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-keeping assist. All of those features—and more besides—were, and still are, conducted by the person behind the wheel.
That is why distracted driving is so dangerous. It takes the driver’s attention away from the vital task at hand, which is controlling a moving object that weighs over a ton. Distracted driving is not a uniquely 21st-century phenomenon but the proliferation of smartphones has made it more pervasive than ever. It is not uncommon to see someone interacting with their phone while driving and it is not uncommon to come across accidents caused by a driver doing that.
If you were the victim of an accident caused by distracted driving, then you should contact the Pendergrass Law Firm as soon as possible. We are a personal injury law firm dedicated to fighting for the rights of accident victims all across Gwinnett County. We will help victims of distracted driving accidents get the compensation that they need to cover their medical bills, repair bills, and lost wages. That is because you should not be the one to pay for the reckless actions of a distracted driver.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is when a driver engages in an activity that takes away their focus on the task at hand, which is driving their car. There are three different types of distracted driving:
Visual Distraction – This is when someone takes their eyes off the road.
Manual Distraction – This happens when a driver takes their hands off the steering wheel.
Cognitive Distraction – This is when all or most of the driver’s concentration is directed to an activity other than driving.
Smartphone use is one of the more common kinds of distracted driving and one of the more dangerous because it is a combination of all three types of distraction, but there are other actions that serve as distractions to the driver. These include fiddling with the car’s dashboard, eating or drinking, chatting with friends, applying makeup, and more. These all split or remove the driver’s attention from the act of driving.
When that happens the driver is far more likely to end up causing a distracted driving accident as they could drift out of their lane and sideswipe another car or they could face an oncoming vehicle in the opposite lane. The distracted driver could also rear-end a stopped or slowed vehicle in front of them. There are many different outcomes that could be caused by distracted driving and none of them are good.
The Effects of Distracted Driving
When a driver is distracted they are far more likely to cause an accident. If a person glances at their phone for just five seconds while traveling at 55 MPH, they can cover the length of a football field. A lot can happen during that time, including the distracted driver colliding with the vehicle ahead of them or drifting out of their lane. Things can get particularly bad if the driver hits someone who is not in a vehicle like a pedestrian crossing the street or a cyclist riding close by.
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an average of nine people are killed every day because of distracted driving accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes that in 2017 there were 3,166 fatal traffic accidents that were caused by distracted driving. Out of that number 599 of the victims were not in vehicles, meaning that they were pedestrians, cyclists, or other non-occupants. Though anyone can drive distracted, teenagers are the demographic most likely to engage in this behavior as 8% of drivers in the fifteen to nineteen age range were involved in fatal crashes caused by distracted driving.
These are grim statistics that show just how dangerous distracted driving can be and why it presents a danger to everyone on the road, not just other motorists. That is why it is important to hire a distracted driving lawyer if you or a loved one was involved in an accident that was caused by a distracted driver.
How Do You Prove That a Driver Was Distracted?
Distracted driving accidents are not as easy to prove as infractions like drunk driving because there is not any biological evidence. Nonetheless, there are ways that can prove that a driver was distracted when they caused an accident. Eyewitness testimony is a common method as other drivers or pedestrians will notice when a driver is not paying attention to the road. In some cases, the driver will even admit that they were distracted, which happens more often than you would expect.
In cases where there are no witnesses and the driver does not admit their guilt, more digging needs to be done. If smartphone use is suspected, then detectives can pore through the driver’s phone to find out if they were using it at the time of the accident. Text messages are time-stamped and many apps leave an electronic trail that can show when they were being used. Simply going through the contents of the suspected driver’s vehicle can yield results as partially eaten food or an open makeup kit can show that the driver was distracted.
Traffic and surveillance cameras are commonplace and a detective can go through footage of any nearby cameras to see what the driver was doing before they caused the accident. The driver’s vehicle itself can be a witness as many newer models record the driver’s activity in order to try and keep them safe. There are many different methods to prove that a driver was distracted, but you will need an experienced lawyer to help gather that evidence. The Pendergrass Law Firm has handled many distracted driving accident cases and we know how to do a thorough, comprehensive job of gathering as much evidence as possible to prove that a driver was distracted when they caused an accident.
The Pendergrass Law Firm Will Help You WIth Your Distracted Driving Case
The ramifications of distracted driving accidents can be serious, and even deadly. That is why anyone who has been in an accident caused by a distracted driver needs to contact the Pendergrass Law Firm. We have represented our Gwinnett County clients for years in a variety of driving cases. We know how to gather the evidence needed to prove that a driver was distracted and we will negotiate to get you the settlement claim that you need to take care of all of your accident-related expenses.
That means your medical bills, repair bills, lost wages due to missing work, as well as compensation for factors like pain and suffering. We will do our best to make sure that the distracted river is brought to justice and that you do not have to pay out of pocket for an accident that was caused by someone else’s reckless and irresponsible behavior.