Distracted driving is a frequent cause of devastating car accidents. There are three different kinds of distracted driving habits including taking your eyes off the road, removing one or both hands from the wheel, and taking your mind off driving. If you’ve been the victim of a car accident caused by someone who wasn’t paying attention behind the wheel, then you absolutely need the help and counsel of a distracted driving personal injury lawyer.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving can be caused by a variety of activities that may seem harmless and simple, but are not safe to do while driving. You may have heard before that taking your eyes off the road for just five seconds while going 55 mph is like driving the length of a football field blindfolded. If your full attention is not on operating the vehicle and watching the road, you are putting yourself and others at risk.
Using a cell phone—In the age of smartphones, it can be difficult for some drivers to ignore their device. Even speaking on the phone with a hands-free device is distracting since your mind is partially captivated by the conversation.
Of course, texting and driving is extremely dangerous, but fidgeting with your phone to send emails, browse social media, change the music, or adjust the GPS is equally risky. In order to avoid cell phone distractions, either keep your phone out of sight while driving and on do not disturb mode or mount it on your dashboard. If you choose to mount it, make sure you set up your GPS and music before leaving so you’re not tempted to look at or touch it.
Eating and drinking— Whether you’re on a long road trip and in need of sustenance or just late getting out the door for work, many of us are guilty of eating while driving. Taking your hands off the wheel to eat lessens the control you have over the car. You may end up drifting into the other lane or be unable to make a necessary turn.
In addition to occupying your hands, eating and drinking pose the risk of being disrupted by spills. Spills can even cause burns if your drink is hot, making it extremely difficult to operate your vehicle properly. Park your car when ready to eat on a road trip and bring your breakfast to work or school and eat there.
Grooming—Similar to eating while driving, when we’re in a pinch, we might think it’s beneficial to save some time by grooming in the car. Applying makeup, styling your hair, shaving, brushing, and flossing are all extremely dangerous as they distract you from driving, as well as put you at risk of injury.
Poor cognitive state—Driving while angry, stressed, tired, upset, or just generally in a poor state of mind puts you at risk since your emotions can interfere with your driving ability. Anger and stress can easily lead to road rage and drowsiness can lead to missing stop signs or falling asleep at the wheel entirely. Pull over if you need to let your emotions cool down and take a nap in order to recharge.
Distracted Driving Statistics
In Pennsylvania, it’s illegal to use your cell phone to send messages, emails, or any text-based communication and the penalty is a $50 fine. Even though most drivers are well aware of the risk and consequences that distracted driving entails, the statistics on distracted driving are still overwhelming.
According to the CDC, in 2015 42% of high school students reported sending a text message while driving in the past 30 days. This ties in to the fact that drivers under the age of 20 take up the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal auto accidents. Though young drivers may seem to be at the highest risk, older drivers are certainly not immune.
According to The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 3,000 people died in 2016 due to distraction-related crashes and the CDC reports that every day, 1000 injuries are caused by distracted driving.
Building a Case After with a Distracted Driving Personal Injury Lawyer
Despite these staggering statistics, some drivers irresponsibly continue to take part in dangerous driving habits. If you are involved in an accident caused by a distracted driver, take the following steps and contact a distracted driving personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Police report—Getting an official police report that indicates the distracted driver was at fault will help build your case for compensation. Call 911 immediately after an accident in order to summon law enforcement to the scene.
Medical evaluation—Seeking medical attention as soon as possible after an accident will not only ensure you receive the treatment you need, but it will provide documentation of your injuries to use in your case.
Take photos—Document the damage to your vehicle as well as your injuries by taking photos after the incident. Make sure you also take pictures of street signs, the entire scene of the crash, and any other relevant visual information.
Get eyewitness accounts—Eyewitness accounts will help corroborate your claim that the driver was distracted when the accident occurred. Make sure you get bystanders’ names and contact information in order to ask any further questions.
Write down what happened—Record your own recollection of the accident while it’s fresh in your memory in order to have all the important details documented.
Record lost wages—If your injuries cause you to miss work, keep a record of the days you miss and the wages you have lost.
Consult with a distracted driving personal injury lawyer—In order to help build your case for compensation, you should enlist the help of a distracted driving personal injury lawyer. Bring all evidence mentioned above to your first consultation with an attorney so they can begin to assist you in getting compensated.
A Trusted Distracted Driving Personal Injury Lawyer in Delaware County
An experienced, professional personal injury lawyer will be able to help you seek the compensation you or a loved one deserves after being the victim of a distracted driver. Donaghue & Labrum can assist you in navigating the complex legal process of making a claim, so you don’t have to do it alone. We have over 25 years of experience serving Delaware and Chester counties and a strong track record of winning car accident lawsuits. Contact us today to set up a free consultation!