distracted driver with coffee and phone

Distracted Driving Kills Thousands Every Year

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month in the United States. The United States’ National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines distracted driving as anything that takes a driver’s attention and focus from the road. Texting, eating, looking at a GPS device, or talking on the phone are common examples of driver distractions that lead to accidents. But other distractions—like focusing attention on something other than the road, letting your mind wander away from the responsibility of driving safely, or simply talking to another car occupant—can be just as costly as texting while driving.

According to the latest statistics from the National Safety Council (NSC), on an average day in the U.S., eight people lose their lives, and hundreds more sustain injuries in distraction-induced accidents. The NHTSA reports that 3,142 people died in distracted driving accidents in 2020, an increase of roughly 1% from 2019.

Injury Lawyers with Proven Track Record Winning Compensation for Victims of Distracted Driving Accidents

Anyone who gets behind the wheel cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has their full attention. As injury lawyers with decades of experience litigating cases involving distracted driving, we can tell you that any activity that takes your eyes and focus from the road increases your risk of crashing.

For those harmed in an accident involving a distracted driver, you may be able to pursue justice and compensation for lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages. In order to prevail in your case, however, you must prove that the other driver was negligent. The Los Angeles personal injury lawyers at Baum Hedlund understand what it takes to investigate an accident, determine the cause, prove liability, and earn compensation for you and your family.

Injured in a Los Angeles accident involving a distracted driver? Call us today at 855-948-5098 for a free and confidential case evaluation. We only get paid if we win your case and recover damages on your behalf.

Get the Facts About Distracted Driving 2022

Traffic accident deaths and serious injuries are rising throughout the country, and according to new data, distracted driving is one of several major contributing factors to crashes. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list three types of distracted driving:

  • Visual: A driver takes their eyes off the road
  • Manual: A driver takes their hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive: A driver takes their mind off driving

Cell Phones Involve All Three Types of Distraction

Cell phones are one of the most serious distractions for drivers because they elicit all three of the distraction types listed above. Looking at a text or reading an email—even for only a few seconds—can have devastating consequences. Between 2005 and 2020, the percentage of vehicle drivers text messaging or manipulating hand-held electronic devices increased 1,300%.

NHTSA reports that sending a text message while driving at 55 miles per hour is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed. While there is a lot of data out there clearly outlining the dangers of distracted driving, the reaction to the data may come as something of a shock: In a AAA survey, more than four out of five drivers recognized that cell phone distraction is dangerous and find it “unacceptable” that drivers text or send an email while driving. Still, 36% of these same people admit to having read or sent a text message or e-mail while driving in the previous month.

It isn’t just text messaging that creates a distraction. According to a study from the University of Utah, people are as impaired when they talk on a cell phone while driving as they are when they drive intoxicated at the legal blood-alcohol limit of 0.08%. The same study also found that mobile phone users are over five times more likely to get into an accident than undistracted drivers.

Distraction Among Truck Drivers

The dangers of texting and cell phone use apply to professional commercial truck drivers as much or more than passenger car drivers. A Virginia Tech study found that texting while driving a commercial truck makes the risk of an accident or a “near-crash event” 23 times higher than non-distracted driving. Dialing a cell phone while driving makes the risk of a crash nearly six times higher when compared to non-distracted driving.

According to data analysis from Omnitracs, the most distracted truck drivers are nearly 72% more likely to be involved in a “near collision” than non-distracted drivers, according to new data insights released July 22 by Omnitracs. The company noted that its analysis “clearly demonstrates that the most distracted drivers are less safe overall, commit significantly more fundamental driving errors, and drive faster than the speed limit compared to all other drivers.”

Teens Drive Distracted More Than Any Demographic

Some age groups are more at risk for distracted driving than others. For example, teens are more at risk of dying in a distraction-induced accident than other age groups. According to recent NHTSA statistics, 9% of drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 years who were involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted. This age group also has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the fatal crashes.

In 2019, a survey of U.S. high school students found that two out of five students who drove in the past 30 days admitted to texting or emailing while driving on at least one of those days. Students who texted or emailed while driving were also more likely to engage in other risky transportation behaviors:

  • They were more likely to not always wear a seat belt.
  • They were more likely to ride with a driver who had consumed alcohol.
  • They were more likely to drive after drinking alcohol.

Preventing Distracted Driving

How can people prevent distracted driving from causing more accidents? First, drivers should set an example to others in their lives by not multitasking while driving. Parents especially should be the kind of driver they want their kids to be. According to End Distracted Driving, teenagers who have parents that drive distracted are two to four times more likely to also drive distracted.

If you have to fix your mirrors, make a phone call, change out of a sweatshirt, or eat a snack, do it before or after your drive. If you are a passenger and you see someone driving distracted, kindly tell them to focus their attention on driving. If necessary, help drivers with tasks like navigation so they can focus exclusively on the road.

If a Distracted Driver Harms You, Call Baum Hedlund Accident Lawyers

In practice for nearly 50 years, our catastrophic injury lawyers have the experience and resources needed to prevail in cases against any opponent. Since 1973, we have won more than $4 billion for clients across a wide variety of practice areas. Put your case in the hands of proven litigators who will fight to obtain full and fair compensation for you and your family. Contact us today to start a case.

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