The Growing Problem of Distracted Driving in Bakersfield, CA: Know Your Rights
Car crashes have been around for as long as cars themselves. And for nearly three centuries, the dangers of driving have been the same: vehicle defects, reckless driving, speeding, and so on.
As vehicles became more sophisticated and powerful, the degree of danger multiplied, but at the same time, so did our efforts to crack down on violations.
Today, however, we are facing a new kind of threat on the highways, something no one could have imagined even two decades ago. Texting while driving is an epidemic out of control. Distracted driving is claiming thousands of lives every year and ruining even more. And yet despite our best efforts, we’ve been unable to curb the trend.
This isn’t the first time you’ve heard about the problem. In fact, the death toll associated with texting and driving is so staggering that it has dominated headlines for years.
That’s part of the problem. Everyone knows texting while driving is both common and deadly. But that knowledge isn’t enough to keep millions of people from engaging in a clear and present danger.
More often than not, we talk about the problem in state-wide or national terms. Today, though, we want to impress upon you the very local nature of this threat.
Texting and driving is pervasive in Bakersfield, California. We know that personally. As Bakersfield distracted driving lawyers, we’ve met with one family after another whose lives have been directly impacted by “intextication.” In many cases, we’ve even represented those victims and their families in litigation, successfully recovering the financial compensation they’re owed after a crash.
But you don’t have to be an attorney to have witnessed the distracted driving threat for yourself. Take a ride down any busy Bakersfield highway of your choice. While you’re in the passenger seat, take a glance at the drivers around you. In the span of ten minutes, count how many people you see using their smartphones (or engaging in some other form of distraction).
The frequency is terrifying. And it’s time for that to change.
What Qualifies as Distracted Driving Under California Law?
Distracted driving is a broad term. Texting while driving is, by far, the most common and most dangerous distraction on 21st-century roadways. But many other kinds of distractions can lead to collision too, and the law offers protection in a wide range of scenarios.
Other common examples of distracted driving in Bakersfield include:
- Adjusting the radio
- Using a GPS
- Reading a map
- Reading a book
- Students doing homework while on their way to class
- Looking at one’s appearance in the mirror
- Applying makeup
- Eating while driving
- Looking at billboards instead of paying attention to the road
- Horseplay with passengers
- Turning around to look at babies, children, or passengers
- Spending too much time looking in the rear-view mirror
- Trying to retrieve items from the backseat while driving
We should also address the many kinds of cell phone-related distractions that have become so common in Bakersfield. Texting isn’t the only bad behavior we’ve seen. Other dangerous smartphone vices include:
- Browsing the web
- Talking on the phone
- Reading or composing emails
- Using an iPod feature or music/podcast app
- Using navigation apps
- Using talk-to-text features (though designed as safe alternatives to texting, these can still be extremely distracting)
- Tweeting, updating Facebook, and other social media activity
- Watching or recording videos (including live stream apps)
- Online shopping
- Checking the weather or traffic
- Playing digital games
- Online banking
All of these activities are dangerous. However tempting they may be, there is simply no excuse for endangering others in the name of entertainment or convenience.
How Common is Distracted Driving in Bakersfield, CA?
A few years ago, Bakersfield.com asked local doctors to study local traffic fatality data to identify the biggest threats to drivers in our community.
Examining 523 deaths in Kern County between 2009 and 2012, they found the top three causes of death to be drunk driving, speeding, and texting while driving. Together, these three causes accounted for nearly all the immediate traffic fatalities in our county.
If national data has any local bearing, it’s likely the distracted driving problem has only grown in the years since that study was conducted.
Know Your Rights After a Bakersfield Distracted Driving Accident
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a car crash involving texting, a cell phone, or some other form of distracted driving, you may be entitled to substantial financial relief.
Distracted driving is considered negligence in California, and state law entitles victims of negligence to comprehensive financial compensation for their damages and suffering. Unfortunately, insurance companies almost always offer less than they should until an experienced law firm steps in.
At The Law Offices of Mickey Fine, we offer contingency fee representation to auto accident victims. That means you don’t have to pay us one penny for our services unless (and until) we recover financial justice on your behalf.
If you need legal advice, please contact our Bakersfield car accident attorneys right away. The sooner we get involved, the better we can fight for your financial rights. Give us a call, text us, or use our online form right away.