A leading cause of car accidents in the United States happens to be distracted driving, which occurs when people are distracted while operating a motor vehicle. Examples of distracted driving are texting, talking on a cell phone, or conversing with passengers instead of watching the road. Below, we have compiled some alarming statistics about distracted driving:
- According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm Insurance Study and NHTSA Study, distracted driving is the number one cause of death for teenagers in the United States.
- The National Teen Driver Survey revealed that 90 percent of teenagers say they do not drink and drive. However, nine out of 10 say they have been a passenger when another driver was distracted or on the phone.
- The Herald reported that approximately 1 million people chat or send text messages while driving each day.
The Three Types of Distracted Driving
When an accident occurs, one of the first reactions by officers is to determine if a distracted driver was the cause of the accident.
The three types of distracted driving include: visual distractions, manual distractions, and cognitive distractions.
A visual distraction encompasses any disturbance that takes your eyes off of the road for any reason, including reading a billboard, looking in a mirror, talking to a person in the back seat, etc.
A manual distraction includes disruptions in your driving due to taking your hands off the wheel. This can include eating, talking on a cell phone, texting, applying makeup, etc.
Lastly, cognitive distractions are those that take your mind away from driving. The most common occurrence includes drunk driving, in which a driver’s abilities are completely impaired due to their intoxicated state. This type of distraction can include having an emotional argument while talking on a cell phone during driving.
To learn more about the causes of driver distractions, contact a Raleigh personal injury attorney from the Whitley Law Firm today.
Liability in Accidents Caused By Texting While Driving
In the first case of its kind in the United States, a personal injury attorney in New Jersey has argued that any driver who is engaging in texting and driving should be held accountable for the injuries that they subsequently cause, but also that the person on the receiving end should be held accountable for distracting the driver at the time that the accident took place. The case stemmed from a motorcycle accident that took place in 2009, when David and Linda Kubert were struck by the distracted driver, Kyle Best.
Reports of the incident explain that Best had been texting his girlfriend, Shannon Colonna when he had hit the couple on the motorcycle—causing each of the victims to lose a leg. As a result, the couple was awarded $500,000 in damages from the responsible individual, Kyle Best, but their pursuit of compensation from his girlfriend was denied.
Colonna’s attorney argued that she could not be held accountable for contributing to the accident, as she was not present during the crash, nor was she aware that her boyfriend was driving at the time that they were engaging in a texting conversation.
The legal representative of the victims asked a jury to decide whether or not she should be held liable, since he believed that her “electronic presence” was enough to warrant accountability, but the ruling was eventually decided in Colonna’s favor. As a result, no new precedent has been set for texting and driving accidents, as it still stands that only the actual distracted driver can be held responsible for providing an accident victim with compensation.
If you have been injured in an auto accident under similar circumstances, however, it is still your right to recover damages from the irresponsible individual. For more information on how to best proceed with your case, contact an lawyer from our firm immediately.