What is distracted driving? According to the CDC, there are three general “types” of distraction which interfere with normal driving habits. First, there is the “visual” distraction, which involves activities that take your eyes off the road. Second, there is the “manual” distraction, which involves behaviors that take your hands off the wheel. Finally, there is “cognitive” distraction, which means things that take your mind off of driving.
While those are the general categories, more often than not, distracted driving involves using a cell phone and/or eating. In-vehicle technologies, like a navigation system for instance, can also be a culprit in taking your eyes and/or mind off the road. While any and all of these specific types of distractions endanger the driver, passengers and other drivers, texting while driving is particularly deadly given that it combines all three types of general distraction.
“Just how widespread and dangerous is the distracted driving problem?” The answer may shock you. According to the CDC, in 2013 over 3,100 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver. That statistic worsens in 2014, when over 3,300 people died at the hands of a distracted driver!
When talking injuries rather than death, the statistics are even more alarming. In 2013, over 400,000 people were injured in car/truck crashes due to a distracted driver. That is almost 10% increase since 2011. According to latest CDC statistics, nearly one in five crashes (about 18%) was caused by or involved distracted driving!
Distracted driving wreaks havoc on the lives of those injured, and/or the families of those who might have been killed. Particular activities, such as texting, are especially deadly because these activities take the driver’s attention away from driving for longer periods of time than other distractions. At 55 mph, the average time spent to send a text message takes a person’s eyes off the road for so long that the car has traveled the length of a football field!
Young drivers are disproportionally guilty of distracted driving. Specifically, drivers under the age of 20 typically have the highest percentage of distraction-caused death by car wreck. Additionally, The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) scrutinizes health-risk behaviors among our nations’ high school students, particularly with regard to texting while driving. According to YRBSS, more than two out of five students who had operated a car within a 30 day period were guilty of texting while driving. Students who text while driving are also more likely to drink and drive than other students who refrain from texting while in the car. It boggles the mind, but as of December, 2014 there were over 169 billion text messages sent in the US alone every month! Despite public outreach and education programs, the problem continues to worsen. The percentage of texting drivers increased from 1.7 percent in 2013 to 2.2 percent in 2014!
The statistics demonstrate that distracted driving causes serious accidents, horrible injuries and death (and this is true whether the distracted driver is in an automobile or a commercial truck). As a personal injury attorney, it is particularly important to investigate whether aclient injured (or killed) by a driver was engaging in any secondary tasks while driving at the time of the accident. The main areas of inquiry should be eating, use of a cell phone–whether hands-free or not, climate controls, and/or sound system controls.
A thorough attorney, should consider document production for medical and/or employment records of the at-fault driver as well, when applicable, to confirm medical conditions, medications, and hours worked before the accident. In short, an attorney cannot overlook discovery geared towards finding evidence of distractions that may have been the culprit that cost your client their lifestyle or, perhaps even their life.
At Jackel & Phillips, we firmly believe that distracted drivers who injure must be held accountable for the damage they cause. The bottom line is that drivers who cause car wrecks have a definite responsibility to the people they hurt, and, as the injured party, you should not have to pay for someone else’s bad decision regarding “distracted driving.” The partners at Jackel & Phillips have been helping car accident victims for over 40 years. More importantly, we have a proven track record of success for recovering compensation for clients in both pre-trial settlement negotiations and in trial. Please see our firm’s results section where you will see that we have obtained numerous multi-million dollar recoveries for our automobile accident clients. There are legal time–limits in which to file a car wreck civil action, and evidence can be lost if too much time is allowed to go by. If you have been seriously injured in a car, trucking or motorcycle accident in Georgia, it is important to consult with an attorney as soon you can. At Jackel & Phillips, we offer a no-strings-attached, free case consultation and evaluation. Feel free to call our office or use our online form to take the first step toward obtaining the compensation you deserve for the injuries and damages that you have suffered.