Driver distraction is one of the leading causes of car accidents in California, but many people fail to realize what distraction is. Much of the talk about distraction focuses on cell phone use and car accidents, and not without good reason. According to the National Safety Council, cell phone use alone is a factor in nearly 30 percent of all car accidents. However, cell phone use is far from the only type of driver distraction. Any injury caused by a driver not paying attention to the road is deserving of attention from an experienced distracted driving car accident attorney.
If you have been involved in a car accident with a distracted driver, please contact the Law Offices of Mickey Fine or call (661) 333-3333 today schedule a free consultation with our California personal injury lawyer.
What is Distracted Driving?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has three classifications for distraction:
- Manual – Includes cell phone use, adjusting a radio, changing a CD, eating, drinking, applying makeup, and anything else that takes your hands off of the wheel
- Visual – Includes looking at GPS or another type of screen, reading or writing a text, selecting a song on an MP3 player, and anything else that takes your eyes off of the road
- Cognitive – Includes daydreaming or anything else that takes your mind off of the task of operating a vehicle
Of course, most car accidents caused by distraction include a combination of these things. Even simple tasks such as changing a radio station can involve all three types of distraction and greatly increase the risk of causing an accident.
Some forms of distraction are illegal in California and can result in fines and other penalties, but even these consequences do nothing to help victims of distracted drivers get justice. To get justice following injury caused by an inattentive driver, you need an aggressive car accident attorney on your side. Bakersfield car accident lawyer Mickey Fine is here to take your case and fight for you.
To learn more about your rights following a distracted driving car accident, please contact our experienced California personal injury lawyer today.
Distracted Driving Car Accidents in California
According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, distracted driving is alarmingly common, and the statistics prove this:
- In 2016, 54% of drivers in California said that they have been in an accident or nearly hit by a distracted driver.
- In 2016, nearly 40% of drivers in California said that they have made a potentially dangerous driving mistake while on their cell phone.
- Nationally, 3,154 people were killed, and 424,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes caused by a distracted driver
- Engaging in a distracted driving practice such as texting, calling, putting on makeup, and others increase your chances of being in an accident three times
- Based on the average time that your eyes are off of the road (5 seconds), when traveling at 55 mph, you will cover the length of an entire football field without your eyes on the road.
Despite all of these disturbing facts, people across the state of California still engage in the act of distracted driving daily.
The Dangers of Distracted Driving
In 2013, more than 3,000 people were killed nationwide in car accidents caused by distracted driving. Hundreds of thousands more suffered traumatic injuries. Cell phone use was reported in 18 percent of distracted driving accident deaths, according to the US Department of Transportation.
Drivers who take their eyes or mind off the road, or their hand off the wheel, endanger not only themselves but you and your loved ones as well. Cell phone use is a major source of driver distraction and car accidents.
Whether texting or talking, using a cellphone while driving is dangerous. Cell phone use while driving can distract you in three main ways:
- Visual distraction
- Manual distraction
- Cognitive distraction
Whether you take your hands, concentration or eyes off the road, the distraction can lead to a car accident.
In 2011, the National Safety Council estimated 23 percent of all car accidents involve cell phone use, either texting or talking.
Eliminating Distracted Driving Practices
There are a number of things one could do to ensure that they do not engage in distracted driving practices. It’s no secret that almost all of us have been guilty of driving distracted at some point. According to Geico, there are some simple things you can do to help you keep your focus on the road:
- Use your cell phone in emergency situations only.
- If you are tired or feeling drowsy, pull off the road as driving drowsy can be more dangerous than drunk driving.
- Limit the number of passengers you take in your car and the noise levels.
- Try not to eat while you are driving.
- Don’t multitask behind the wheel. This includes applying makeup, adjusting the radio, reading, and other practices.
The NHTSA says that drivers who fail to abide by these practices are the leading cause of most motor vehicle crashes across the United States. The danger is ever greater for teens. Teen drivers hold the highest crash fatality rate of all drivers, so it is very important that they follow these guidelines especially close.
California Cell Phone Laws
In California, it is illegal for drivers to:
- Use a handheld device while driving
- Text while driving
Additionally, bus drivers and young drivers may not use a hands-free device.
These are primary enforcement laws, which means a police officer can pull you over and ticket you for these violations, without having to pull you over for something else.
If a driver using a cell phone causes a car accident in which you are injured, the driver may be held responsible for causing the accident based on his or her cell phone use. Cell phone use can be considered a careless behavior, and if that carelessness causes the driver to run a red light, make an improper turn or fail to yield, a serious car accident can result.
Car accidents result in devastating bodily injury, such as spinal cord injury. Distracted driving car accidents are preventable, but the negligent driver chose to use a cellphone while driving, and now you may be facing:
- Medical bills
- Diminished earning capacity
- Lost wages
- Long-term disability
- Pain and suffering
As the person injured by the negligence of another driver, you deserve compensation.