Many people underestimate the problem of distracted driving and are more concerned about intoxicated drivers. Drunk driving has been on the decline for decades, while distracted driving is escalating every year. As more people come to rely on their phones, navigation devices, and on-board displays, the risk of distracted driving accidents continues to increase. An accident involving a distracted driver can result in serious injury or even death.
Distracted Driving Statistics
According to the Department of Transportation, texting while driving increases the risk of a crash 23 times that of regular driving. Despite this risk, over a third of drivers admit to sending or reading texts while driving. Almost 20% of drivers regularly text and drive. Texting while driving means taking your eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds. That is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field while blindfolded.
In 2014, more than 3,000 people were killed, and 431,000 injured in car accidents involving distracted drivers. 10 percent of drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal accidents were distracted at the time of the crash. Distracted driving does not only involve texting, some drivers are distracted while reading the paper, putting on makeup, or even changing their clothes while driving. Other distractions include reading maps, talking to passengers, eating or drinking, or watching videos.
Distracted Driving Accidents
Distracted drivers can be involved in minor fender benders, as well as serious, fatal accidents. A driver looking down at their smartphone can easily cross over the median, crashing head-on into another car at full speed. This can result in serious head or facial injuries, neck or back injury, broken bones, lacerations, severed limbs, or even death. In serious accidents, the injured occupant may be trapped in their car, suffering pain and blood loss as they wait for emergency vehicles to respond.
Many low-speed, rear-end collisions involve distracted drivers. Looking down for a second can mean hitting the brakes too late, rear-ending the driver in front. However, even these seemingly minor accidents can lead to serious injuries. Whiplash injuries can occur at low speeds, causing painful neck, back, and head pain. In some cases, the injured driver may be unaware of the damage caused until a couple of days later. It is important to seek medical attention after any accident that might involve injury.
Any car accident can lead to expensive medical bills, lost income, painful surgery, scarring, and vehicle damage. By filing a personal injury claim, the injured driver can seek compensation from the driver who caused the injury. If someone died in the accident, the family members may be able to hold the negligent driver accountable through filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
How Do You Know if the Other Driver Was Distracted at the Time?
After an accident, few people admit that they were at fault. The same goes for distracted drivers. If a distracted driver took their eyes off the road, causing a crash, they likely understood that what they did was wrong, and possibly illegal. A distracted driver is not likely to get out of the car, and say they were sorry, but they were texting a friend. Instead, they may pretend like they don't know what caused the accident or try and blame the accident on you.
If the police were called after an accident, they will conduct an accident investigation. Standing in front of a police officer, the distracted driver may admit they were looking at their phone, but most will not. Instead, it may take an independent investigation or legal action before you can uncover a distracted driver.
If you hire an attorney and file a personal injury lawsuit after the accident, your attorney may be able to compel the other driver to turn over phone records, social media account information, or emails. Your attorney may then be able to determine if the driver was using their phone at the time. Faced with this strong evidence, the defendant may be forced to admit that they caused the accident, and therefore, are responsible for your damages.
Distracted Driver Accident Attorneys
If you were involved in an automobile accident, you may not know if the other driver was distracted at the time. Your attorney will investigate your case, to determine if a distracted driver negligently caused your accident. The person responsible should pay for your medical bills and pain and suffering. If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident in Maryland, please contact the team at Gilman & Bedigian. We offer a free consultation and will fight for you, to make sure you are fully compensated for your injuries.