DISTRACTED DRIVING KILLS
It represents negligence, incompetence, and sometimes willful, wanton misconduct. For example, a 2015 Erie, PA, insurance company distracted driving survey reported that some of the things drivers do include brushing teeth and changing clothes. The survey also found that one-third of drivers admitted to texting while driving, and three-quarters said they have seen others do it.
Distracted driving is a dangerous, negligent epidemic on America’s roadways. Texting, talking on mobile phones, and technologies and devices, including those that are part of the car, compete for our attention and make the potential for being distracted terrifyingly high. In 2014 alone, 3,179 were killed in distracted driving crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 10% (3,050) of U.S. fatal crashes in 2012 were reported as distraction-affected. In 12% of these crashes, the distraction was talking on, listening to, or manipulating a cell phone. Distracted driving has become such a problem in the United States that there is an official government website dedicated to educating the public about the dangers.
How many times have you been walking or driving and seen somebody holding a cell phone while talking into it or looking at something? Even using Bluetooth can be a significant negligent distraction.
Anyone who gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle is required to drive responsibly and practice safe driving habits. When drivers devote their attention to anything other than the road, they must be held responsible for any injuries they cause. Accountability and responsibility is what the American legal system is all about.
If you have lost a loved one or you or they were seriously injured because of a distracted negligent driver, you deserve to be compensated for the physical, emotional, and financial damages you suffered. The experienced and compassionate personal injury attorneys at Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann have a long history of results and can help.
Since March 2012, there has been a law in Pennsylvania that prohibits all drivers from texting while driving. It states that drivers are banned from using an Interactive Wireless Communication Device to send, read or write text-based messages while their vehicle is in motion. This is a primary law, which means that a police officer has the right to pull someone over and give them a ticket for texting while driving without having to witness another moving violation. However, the law does not prohibit drivers from talking on their cell phones while their vehicle is in motion. That is why some representatives have been calling for stricter laws, proposing bans on all use of hand-held cell phones while driving.
Also, several bills have been filed which would allow cities to decide on their own whether they want to ban all cell phone use while driving.
Even if a driver has not violated the driving laws of Pennsylvania, they could still be subject to a money suit for physical damages due to their negligence in using or looking at a cell phone or engaging in a variety of other distractions causing negligent driving.
Distracted driving is any non-driving activity that has the potential to distract the driver from the primary task of driving and increases the risk of crashing. Distractions can be visual (taking eyes off the road), manual (taking hands off the wheel), or cognitive (taking mind off what you are doing). Since texting involves all three, it is particularly dangerous. (Source: Distraction.gov)
It is estimated that engaging in activities associated with the use of a hand-held phone or other portable device, like reaching for a phone, dialing and texting, increase the risk of getting into a crash by three times. Texting takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of five seconds, which is equivalent to traveling the length of a football field at 55 mph – and doing it essentially blindfolded.
The most common activities that pull a person’s attention away from driving include:
In addition, teenagers are disproportionally affected when it comes to distracted driving. Already prone to engaging in risky behaviors, American teens are ignoring the consequences of using their phones to text while driving. Four in ten of recently surveyed teenagers who were of driving age admitted that they had texted or emailed while driving, despite the fact that the bulk of teen deaths result from motor vehicle crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers aged 15-19 represented 7% of all drivers in fatal crashes, but 10% of the drivers in that age group were distracted – the highest percentage for any age group. Drivers aged 20-29 made up 23% of the drivers in fatal crashes, but only 8% of these drivers were distracted.
If you suspect your accident and subsequent injuries were caused by a driver who was talking on their cell phone, texting, or was otherwise distracted, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Prompt legal consultation can ensure the collection of relevant facts and the preservation of evidence.
If you or your loved one has been injured in an accident, contact Cliff Rieders at Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann by calling (570) 323-8711 for a free consultation, or use our online contact form.