Distracted driving has changed a lot over the last few decades. Distracted driving used to be mainly people who were eating, applying makeup, or changing the radio station while driving. Today, distracted driving has become a lot more complicated. It can also cause major accidents with serious injuries. The use of cell phones for talking and texting has created a large problem and the need for new legislation. In California, drivers are not allowed to use handheld devices while behind the wheels of their vehicles.
Distracted Driving Statistics
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, DOT, distracted driving has reached epidemic proportions. In 2014, there were 3,179 people who died as a result of distracted driving accidents. Additionally, 431,000 people were injured in 2014 in accidents caused by distracted driving. The problem is so significant that DOT has a website, Distraction.gov, devoted completely to distracted driving. They provide informational materials for teens, parents, educators, employers, and community groups. The information is useful for raising public awareness about distracted driving.
Types of Distracted Driving
There are many activities that may be considered distracting to drivers. Some of the most common activities include:
- Cell Phone Use
- Eating and Drinking
- Talking to Passengers
- Using a Navigation Device
- Watching Videos
- Adjusting Entertainment Players
DOT notes that of all of these activities, texting is likely the worst because it requires you to use visual, manual, and cognitive attention, leaving you unable to pay attention to driving.
Accidents and Injuries Due to Distracted Driving
Accidents caused by distracted driving can cause serious injuries. Victims may suffer injuries ranging from minor contusions and lacerations, to head trauma or spinal injuries. After an accident occurs, the police and others will try to determine what caused it. The responsible party is liable for any injuries and damages that occurred because of the accident. California utilizes the comparative negligence law. This means that responsibility for the accident is apportioned to each party involved in the crash. For example, one driver could be found to be 90% responsible for the crash, and the other driver found 10% responsible. Distracted drivers are often the major cause of the crash.
Prevention of Distracted Driving Accidents
Accidents caused by distracted driving can be prevented. Younger drivers, those under the age of 25, are most likely to cause these types of crashes. Education programs should emphasize the importance of driving without distractions. New technology provides parents the ability to control the use of a cell phone while a teen is behind the wheel. People must make a habit to put away their phones, and even turn them off, while driving. These actions alone could reduce the number of distracted driving accidents.
Sadly, there are still many injuries and deaths that happen because of distracted driving. Distracted driving is negligent because the driver knows that the activity is dangerous and could cause significant harm or death. If you were hurt in a distracted driving accident, contact Brod Law Firm to discuss your case. We have offices in San Francisco, Oakland, and Santa Rosa. Call us today at 800-427-7020 for a free consultation.