Distracted driving is quickly becoming the most common cause of traffic accidents in the United States. Drivers are doing more and more things behind the wheel that have nothing to do with the task of driving. The latest distraction, Pokémon Go, is just another example of drivers placing their safety and the safety of others at greater risk. From using social media while driving to eating and grooming, drivers are doing everything behind the wheel except what they should be doing — concentrating and focusing on the road ahead of them.
Some people believe the dangers of distracted driving are exaggerated. What do the numbers tell us?
How Serious Is The Problem Of Distracted Driving?
Approximately 1,161 people are injured and 8 people die in distracted driving accidents each day in the United States. During 2014, almost 3,200 people were killed and 431,000 people were injured in traffic crashes caused by distracted driving. Thousands of people have died in Tennessee in distracted driving accidents during the past decade. During the past 10 years, 173,028 people have lost their lives because of distracted drivers (9,101 people in Knox county alone).
What Is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is defined as any activity that takes your attention away from driving. Distractions work in one of three ways:
- Manual – The driver removes his or her hands from the steering wheel (i.e. eating)
- Visual – The driver looks away from the road ahead to perform a task (i.e. reading)
- Cognitive – The driver is focused on performing another task rather than thinking about driving (i.e. programming an address into the GPS)
Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving because it involves all three functions (visual, cognitive, and manual). A driver who is texting while driving is 23 times more likely to be involved in a collision.
To read, write, or send the average text, your focus is diverted for a minimum of five seconds. At 55 miles per hour, a driver who is texting travels the length of a football field without looking at the road. Because the average for texting while driving is about 10 seconds, the distance traveled is doubled. It only takes a fraction of a second to cause a motor vehicle accident.
Examples of distracted driving include:
- Texting while driving
- Talking on a cell phone
- Eating and drinking
- Reading and writing
- Adjusting vehicle controls
- Taking care of children
- Interacting with passengers
- Programing GPS
- Watching videos
- Using social media (Snap Chat, Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
- Paying attention to things happening outside of the vehicle (i.e. vehicle accident, landmarks, scenery, etc.)
It only takes a split second for a traffic accident to occur. Taking your attention away from driving can result serious consequences for you and for others.
What Can You Do If You Are Injured In A Distracted Driving Accident?
As with any traffic accident, you need to seek medical attention. Your health and well-being should be your top priority. Minor aches and pains could be symptoms of a serious medical condition. It is always best to be checked by a physician after a car accident, even if you do not believe your injuries are serious.
When a distracted driver causes a collision, the driver is often guilty of a traffic offense. For example, if a driver causes an accident because he is texting while driving, he will likely receive a traffic ticket for breaking the law (texting while driving is illegal in Tennessee). In addition to being subject to a criminal offense, the distracted driver is also responsible for any damages caused by the accident.
However, as with any other vehicle accident, you must prove that the distracted driver caused the collision AND you suffered damages as a result of the crash. A traffic ticket is not sufficient evidence to prove fault in a distracted driving accident, although it may be used in addition with other evidence.
Therefore, you should seek the counsel of an experienced Knoxville auto accident lawyer as soon as possible after a distracted driving accident. Your attorney can conduct a thorough accident investigation to identify evidence he can use to prove the other driver was at fault for the accident and, therefore, responsible for your damages.
Victims of distracted driving accidents are entitled to receive compensation for economic and non-economic damages, including but not limited to:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Funeral expenses, in the event of a death
- Loss of earning capacity
- Physical pain
- Emotional suffering and mental anguish
- Other out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident (i.e. travel expenses, personal care, medical supplies.)
The damages you may be entitled to recover depend on the specific facts and circumstances of your case. Our Knoxville auto accident lawyers offer free case evaluations so you can get more information about your accident claim without any obligation.
Contact A Knoxville Auto Accident Lawyer Now!
If you have been injured by a distracted driver, you have the right to receive compensation for your injuries. Call Hodges, Doughty & Carson, PLLC at 865-292-2307 or visit our website to schedule a free consultation with a Knoxville auto accident lawyer.