Driving a car safely requires full attention and focus. Sometimes, just a split second of inattention is enough time for a tragedy to unfold. A driver who takes his or her eyes off the road to read or send a text poses a danger to other motorists as well as pedestrians and bicyclists.
The results of a motor vehicle accident can be devastating, with injuries ranging from cuts and bruises to broken bones and lifelong disabilities from head, back and leg injuries. While California laws can’t undo the laws of physics, they can certainly help to alleviate the physical and mental anguish that often accompanies an auto accident.
Avrek Law Firm, understands that recovering maximum compensation for auto accident damages makes a life-changing difference for victims. That’s why we fight aggressively to get you the care and money you deserve to move on with your life following a car crash.
To speak with an Avrek Law Firm, attorney for free consultation about your case, call us toll free at 1.888.333.5009 or fill out our online form. We serve victims of motor vehicle accidents in Irvine, Orange County, Riverside, and Riverside County.
Driver Inattention a Deadly Epidemic
At some point in our driving career, each of us has made a decision that took our undivided attention from the road. It could be reaching for a dropped wallet, turning to check on an unhappy child, or entering coordinates into a navigation device. More likely than not, it was making a phone call or sending a text message while behind the wheel.
It’s easy to dismiss such oversights as harmless, but upon closer review, they turn out to be anything but. The following facts demonstrate why distracted driving is so dangerous:
- In 2011, 3,331 people were killed and 387,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.
- 10% of all 2011 injury crashes were attributed to distracted drivers.
- 11% of all drivers younger than age 20 who were involved in fatal crashes were distracted when the crash occurred.
- According to a 2013 CDC survey, nearly 70 percent of Americans who drive say that they talked on a cell phone while driving at least once over the past month. Drivers talking on a cell phone are 4 times more likely to have an accident.
- The same CDC study found that roughly one-third of U.S. drivers read or sent texts or emails while driving. Drivers who text while driving are 23 times more likely to crash.
What Science Says About Distracted Driving
Multitasking is a way of life in our fast-paced modern world. It’s a common sight to see a person taking a phone call while simultaneously typing an email or, more dangerously, driving a car.
Many of us would like to think we excel at multitasking, but scientists say that no matter how good you think you are at juggling tasks, the brain simply isn’t equipped to perform multiple tasks that require brainpower. So while you might be able to walk and chew gum effectively, the same can’t be said for texting and driving or talking and driving. Dividing your attention, as this Carnegie Mellon study makes clear, prevents the brain from fully processing information. For drivers, this “information” could be a hazard in the road, a pedestrian in the crosswalk, or anything else that requires instant perception and reaction.
What the Law Says About Distracted Driving
At any given time during daylight hours, 660,000 U.S. drivers are using cellphones or electronic devices while driving. Given the startling statistics above, this is a recipe for roadway disaster. Accordingly, states are cracking down on the use of cell phones for any purpose while driving. In California, the following laws are in place:
- A ban on texting for all drivers
- A ban on all handheld phones for all drivers. Drivers over the age of 18 may make calls using a hands-free device.
- A ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for drivers under the age of 18
- A ban on all cell phone use for bus drivers
A driver who gets in an accident and is found to have violated one of these laws in the moments leading up to the accident will likely be found liable. Keep in mind, however, that because California observes comparative negligence, if you were also in violation of the law at the time of the accident (for example, records show you sent a text message seconds before the crash), you will be found partially liable as well, resulting in a lower possible reward or settlement for damages.
Another interesting legal tidbit concerns the use of hands-free devices. Even though adults over age 18 may use these devices in California, research shows that phone calls of any sort reduce a driver’s attention. Thus talking on a cell phone, even with a hands free device, could be used as evidence of negligence by the inference that the driver was not paying full attention to the road.
Speak With an Experienced Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney in Irvine
Roadways are filled with peril, including many distracted drivers. If another driver was negligent in any way and caused you harm, it is your right to recover compensation for your injuries, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.
Avrek Law Firm, has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of auto accident victims. Speak with one of our knowledgeable car accident lawyers about your case for free by calling 1.888.333.5009 or filling out this form.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Distracted Driving in the United States and Europe
- National Safety Council:
- The New York Times: Driven to Distraction
- California Office of Traffic Safety: Distracted Driving
- distraction.gov: Official US Government Website for Distracted Driving
- www.npr.org: If You Think You’re Good At Multitasking, You Probably Aren’t
- Governors Highway Safety Association: Distracted Driving Lawsv
- www.distraction.gov: Key Facts and Statistics