id you know, at 55 miles per hour, if a driver looks away from the road for just 5 seconds, it’s enough to travel from one end of a football field to the other? Now imagine the carnage it can occur on a crowded road.
Unfortunately, this is a common problem on the road and often results in individuals suffering serious injuries. Distracted driving has long been a problem on the road and recent years have seen laws cracking down on the different actions that can divert the drivers attention from the road.
When distracted driving results in an accident, that driver–or potentially other parties–may be looked at as negligent and any party who is injured has the legal right to pursue a car accident lawsuit.
It’s important for victims of distracted driving to recognize their rights, including who they can hold negligent and to which compensation they may be entitled. Here is everything you need to know about distracted driving.
What Does the Law Consider Distracted Driving?
The overall view on distracted driving is that it is any action that directly causes the driver to divert their attention from the road. This can include a number of activities, including the following:
- Texting and driving
- Talking on the phone
- Eating with one hand
- Conversing with others in the vehicle
- Messing with the radio
These actions don’t only require the driver to take their eyes off the road, but they also force the driver to remove at least one hand from the steering wheel. Drivers cannot properly drive safely if they are not giving their full attention to the task of driving.
In 2017, there were 5,054 citations handed out in the state of Pennsylvania relating to distracted driving. This includes actions such as drivers texting, talking on a handheld cell phone, and using headphones while operating their vehicles.
The number was a 51% increase from the year before in which 3,336 citations were given out.
However, it’s the dangers involved that many should worry about as roughly 25% of all fatal motor vehicle accidents are caused by distracted driving. In 2016, there were 3,450 people killed because of these actions.
In 2015, the number of injuries caused by distracted driving topped 391,000 across the nation. This is because there are an estimated 481,000 distracted drivers on the road during the daylight hours–mostly teens.
Following the release of the ‘Bird Box’ movie on Netflix, individuals began what they called the ‘Bird Box’ challenge in which they try to do everyday tasks with a twist–they wear a blindfold while trying to do it.
Individuals who attempt to do this while driving put all other individuals on the road at serious risk of harm. It’s important for everyone to recognize the harm in this matter and just how dangerous it can be for all those involved.
The inability to see while driving can lead to some of the most dangerous types of accidents to occur, including head-on collisions, pedestrian accidents, and more.
Can Other Parties Be Responsible In a Distracted Driving Crash?
Any time a car accident occurs, it can be easy for all parties involved to point fingers at who they feel is responsible for the collision. For the most part, this means the drivers get out and typically blame each other for the crash.
These situations are not always cut and dry, though, and there may be other factors that need to be considered when pursuing legal action.
What happens when neither driver is directly at fault, even in a distracted driving accident? While the driver is the one in control of the vehicle, what happens if it’s someone else’s actions that cause the distraction?
For instance, if a passenger does something that directly diverts the drivers attention–such as covering their eyes or blocking their view of the road–and it causes a serious accident, it could be considered the fault of that passenger. This makes it so the passengers is considered liable for any injuries that occur as a result of the distracted driving accident.
Far too often, the individuals injured as a result of a distracted driving accident are left to deal with long-term financial, emotional, and physical hardships. This includes the injuries they have sustained, the pain and suffering they experience, and the costs of medical care, rehabilitation, lost income, and more.
Victims in distracted driving accidents should recognize their rights to take legal action. In terms of any matter associated with liability, there must be four factors considered when pursuing compensation. This includes:
- Whether or not the defendant had a duty to care for the plaintiff–all drivers have the duty to operate their vehicles safety.
- Whether or not there was a breach in that duty of care–any act of negligence can be considered a breach
- Whether or not that breach resulted in an accident–if the driver was driving distracted and crashed, the breach is the direct cause
- Whether or not the plaintiff suffered an injury as a direct result of the accident–it must be shown that the injury was not pre-existing prior to the accident
For any individual injured as a result of distracted driving, it’s important to speak with a Pennsylvania car accident lawyer who can help them understand what rights they have to pursue legal action.
Filing a car accident lawsuit is not just about the compensation needed to cover the costs associated with the damages, it’s also about holding the negligent party accountable. It’s about showing others that these actions have consequences.
At Marcus & Mack, we mean business and we aim to represent clients in the difficult matters that lie ahead. You can count on our legal team to stand on your side and guide you through the process, focusing on your best interests and pursuing the maximum compensation possible.