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Distracted Driving Accidents and Consequences
Distracted driving is one of the major causes of car accident injuries, deaths, and property damages in the United States. According to the NHTSA, it is defined as an activity that would draw the attention of a driver away from his or her primary task of driving.
What Constitutes a Distracted Driving Situation
It makes no difference whether you are talking to your family or friends over the phone or having your morning breakfast on your way to work while driving. Any kind of distraction can result in an accident no matter how experienced a driver you are. In essence, the following activities while driving are all classified as distracted driving.
- Using a cell phone to make or take calls
- Texting on the cell phone or other handheld devices
- Operating a handheld device, including GPS or music players
- Eating or drinking
- Using navigation systems or other technologies that need your input
- Adjusting climate controls or radio
- Reading or writing
- Engaging in a conversation with the passengers
Since almost all of the above activities require your visual attention, they can easily take your eyes and attention off the road and result in a mishap.
Who are the Distracted Drivers
While teenagers or young drivers make up the most part of distracted driving accidents statistics, even experienced drivers have been involved in one.
Studies also suggest that people of all ages have engaged in this type of dangerous behavior at some point in their lives. In essence, distracted drivers come of all ages, gender, or backgrounds. And they have caused a wide range of accidents, from minor fender benders to multiple vehicle crashes.
What Evidence Suggest Distracted Driving
The following circumstances can be submitted as evidence of distracted driving
- Driver admitting his or her fault
- Testimony from witnesses
- Records from a cell phone, email, or texting device
- Surveillance video record from traffic cameras, police dashboards, or witness cell phones
- Presence or absence of skid marks
- Evidence of damage to vehicles involved in the accident and much more.
Handheld Device Ban To Prevent Distracted Driving
Most states do not entertain the use of handheld devices during driving. Specific punishment for distracted driving varies from state to state and place to place. In a number of states, traffic laws require that the police issue a citation when evidence suggests the driver has been using handheld devices, whether or not they have committed traffic offenses.
Other states have even gone to the length of banning handheld devices inside vehicles for all drivers. While this law has been effective in preventing distracted driving fatalities, it hasn’t deterred some drivers from using cell phones and tablets while being engaged in driving on highways and around schools and residential areas.
For this reason, safety advocates and lawmakers have been calling for stricter laws where punishment for such an offense range from a higher fine to a lengthy jail term.
Negligence on the Part of the Distracted Driver
If you are a driver whose legal duty is to drive responsibly but have engaged in activities that have caused the diversion of your attention from the road, you have committed an act of negligence punishable under the law.
Negligent drivers can be held liable for any and all financial costs arising from injuries, property damages, and other losses incurred by the accident victims. The victims, on the other hand, are eligible to claim compensation for the losses from the distracted driver as long as they are able to prove the driver’s negligent behavior leading up to the accident.