In the age of apps, email, the Internet, and Smartphones at our fingertips, it’s unsurprising that we have grown accustomed to multi-tasking and staying connected at any and every hour of the day. But unfortunately, even with this access, there is one place that we need to disconnect: behind the wheel.
Distracted driving, which includes cell phone use, is extremely dangerous, often leading to severe injury or even death of the individual distracted and those around them.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2019, 3,142 people were killed in motor vehicles involving distracted drivers. Distracted driving is the leading cause of motor vehicle crashes each year, causing approximately 2.5 million crashes annually.
Bay Area Distracted Driving Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in a distracted driving accident, it’s extremely important that you take the right steps in order to receive the compensation that you deserve. Don’t wait; contact the Law Offices of David P. Kashani today to start on your claim!
Types of Distractions
Any distraction at all – that takes your attention off of the road even slightly – increases your likelihood of getting into a crash.
According to the NHTSA, there are three different types of distracted driving:
- Visual – taking your eyes off of the road
- Manual – taking your hands off the road
- Cognitive – taking your mind off the road
Should you engage in any of these, it can result in serious harm. Not only is it important that you remain attentive for your own safety, but also for the safety of all drivers, pedestrians, bikers, etc. around you.
Cell Phone Use
Due to the risk that using your cell phone while driving poses, California has made doing so illegal. In fact, in California, you are prohibited from using an electronic communication device, such as a cell phone, while driving. However, if you are at least 18 years old you are permitted to use your cell phone so long as it is used hands-free. Minors are prohibited from using a cell phone in any manner for any reason, as their age group is more likely to use their phones while driving. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in 2019, 39% of high school students who drove over the past 30 days texted or emailed on at least one of those days.
Cell phone use (e.g. texting, dialing a number, and talking) can increase the risk of getting into a crash by three times. While this may seem dramatic, consider the following: sending or reading a text takes your eyes off of the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph this would be the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes shut.
Eating and Drinking While Driving
While much emphasis is placed on preventing cell phone use while driving, eating and drinking behind the wheel is actually riskier. This is because food and drinks can spill or leak, which causes you to take your eyes, your hands, and even your mind off of the road at once. A driver is three times more likely to crash their vehicle when they eat or drink while driving.
While California doesn’t have an explicit law prohibiting eating or drinking (non-alcoholic) beverages while behind the wheel, police often have the ability to ticket these drivers under related laws. For instance, under California Vehicle Code Section 22350, no person may drive a vehicle at a speed that endangers the safety of others. Therefore if a police officer notices a driver going above the speed limit and eating while driving, he or she can ticket them under this law. However, this is widely subjective and left to each officer to decide.
Phone use, eating, and drinking are not the only forms of distracted driving. Other distracted driving activities include:
- Playing videos
- Looking at social media
- Looking at a map
- Reaching for something on the floor
- Talking to passengers
- Using an app
- Changing clothes (or taking off layers)
- Grooming (doing hair or makeup)
- Shuffling music/the radio
When a driver engages in any of these activities it increases the risk of an accident and puts him or her at risk of receiving a “reckless driving” or “speed unsafe for conditions” ticket.
So What Can You Do in a Distracted Driving Accident?
While we can’t prevent all distracted driving accidents – after all we can’t control other drivers’ attentiveness – we can remember the following to reduce the likelihood of accidents caused by distracted driving.
- Do not try to multitask
- Use an app that notifies those trying to reach you that you’re driving
- Ask a driver to focus on the road if he or she seems distracted
- Help a driver with navigation so he or she doesn’t have to look at a map
- Talk with your teenager(s) about rules and responsibilities
- Set consequences for your child should they engage in distracted driving
- Serve as an example to your children by refraining from distracted behavior while driving
Damages in a Distracted Driving Accident
No matter what, distracted driving can still occur and often results in serious injuries or death.
If you have been injured in a distracted driving accident due to someone else’s inattention, you could have the right to receive damages for both economic and non-economic losses.
Economic losses include:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Nursing care or household care
- Property damage
- Loss of income
- Loss of earning power
Non-economic losses include:
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability, scarring or disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life or relationships (consortium)
- Funeral expenses
- Wrongful death
We Fight for Those Injured Due to Distracted Drivers
While we know that no amount of money can change the fact that you have been injured in an accident, it’s important that you receive the compensation to which you are entitled to help you move forward with your life.
At the Law Offices of David P. Kashani, APLC, our legal team will work to help get you or your loved one as much compensation as possible.
Distracted driving accidents require experience in personal injury law and insurance law, all of which are specialties of our highly qualified team. These suits often require touchy and potentially acrimonious confrontations with your own insurance. Our team can help work through this delicate situation for your benefit.
The most important thing when experiencing a distracted driving accident is to act quickly. Contact the Law Offices of David P. Kashani, APLC right away to schedule a free consultation in which we can discuss your options.