Distracted driving is widespread. It might involve eating a burger on the roadway, using a phone, inputting information into an infotainment center, attending to a child or just talking to a passenger. Texting while driving is the most dangerous form of distracted driving. More than 3,000 victims lose their lives in texting while driving crashes every year, and tens of thousands of others are injured. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are three main types of driver distraction. Those consist of the following:
- Visual when a driver takes their eyes off of the road.
- Manual when a driver takes one or both hands off of the steering wheel.
- Cognitive when a driver takes their attention away from driving safely.
Reaction Time is Delayed
Any distraction is going to significantly delay a driver’s reaction time. The CDC reports that in order to read a text a driver’s eyes are off of the road for about five seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like having your eyes closed for the length of a football field. Even drunk drivers try to pay at least some attention to the roadway, but their reaction time is delayed by about 13%. The reaction time of a person who is texting and driving is delayed by 37%.
Distracted Driving Lawsuits
Given the fact that reaction times are slower with distracted driving, it only makes sense that vehicles are traveling at a higher rate of speed when texting while driving and a crash occurs. That speed factor increases the likelihood of a victim suffering severe injuries, especially if he or she is a pedestrian or bicyclist. Those injuries can include the following:
- Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries.
- Injuries to the structural spine.
- Internal organ damage.
- Multiple fractures.
- Damage to shoulder, hip, and knee cartilage.
- Wrongful death.
Proving Distracted Driving
Some drivers might admit to an investigating police officer being distracted at the time of a crash. Most drivers won’t admit to it though, notwithstanding the fact that they’re fully aware of distracted driving laws. Cell phone records, witness statements, social media account entries, and traffic cameras might all be used for proving distracted driving. Even an event data recorder can provide circumstantial evidence showing that the distracted driver didn’t slow down before impact. If a crash victim has difficulty proving distracted driving, violations of other traffic laws like failure to yield, following too closely, or disobeying a stop sign or red light can also be used to prove negligence.
Injured victims and their families should consult with and retain a knowledgeable, experienced and effective car accident lawyer as soon as possible after being injured in a texting while driving crash. Be careful about the applicable statute of limitations in your case. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, it might be shorter than you think. It’s highly likely that a failure to file an appropriate lawsuit within that limitations period will operate to bar the victim from proceeding further, so don’t sit on your rights.
Most car accident lawyers offer free consultations and case reviews for accident victims, so there’s no reason not to obtain a consultation. Nearly all of such lawyers work on a contingency fee basis too, so there are no up-front legal fees either. Driving is a privilege and a responsibility. There’s no reason for any driver to be receiving or sending text messages while operating a motor vehicle. Make it a rule with your family that everybody needs to live by.