The Most Common Causes and Types of Distracted Driving Accidents
Penalties and Lawsuits
Distracted driving involves paying attention to something other than driving while behind the wheel, leading to car accidents that cause thousands of deaths and injuries every year.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that distracted driving caused 3,142 deaths in 2019, an increase of 10% from the previous year. It also resulted in 8.5% of fatal accidents and 15% of injury crashes.
Distracted driving takes many forms and includes various distractions – visual, manual or cognitive. Everyday activities that divert drivers away from the road include:
Texting on a mobile phone
Radio or navigation system adjustment
Speaking to passengers
Applying makeup or grooming
Smoking or vaping
You may be lost in your thoughts or daydreaming
This can affect the driver’s reaction time and ability to control or see the vehicle. The risk of hitting other cars, pedestrians, cyclists, animals or objects increases. Drivers may lose control which can cause a variety of injuries and damage.
Whiplash or neck injuries
Lacerations or bruises
Burns or scars
Spinal cord/back injuries
Bleeding/damage of internal organs
Fractures or broken bones
Loss of limbs
Paralysis or disability
Distracted driving has not only physical but also emotional and legal consequences for both the driver and the victims. This act can lead to penalties like fines, suspension of licenses or even jail. Drivers who are distracted while driving may be held civilly liable for injuries caused to other people. Victims can file lawsuits against these drivers in order to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering as well as property damage they incurred as a result of distracted driving incidents.
We will be talking about some of the common causes of accidents caused by distracted driving, as well as possible penalties and lawsuits that may be associated with these types of accidents. Additionally, we’ll share tips for preventing these types of incidents and what steps to take should one occur; and explain how Legal Yogi can provide legal help after such a collision – why you should contact them for a free consultation session.
Texting While Driving
The most dangerous form of distracted driving involves texting, which includes: visual (taking your eyes off the road), manual (removing your hands from the steering wheel) and cognitive (your mind is taken off driving). Sending or reading a text message takes five seconds off your eyes from driving at 55 mph according to NHTSA; that’s equivalent to driving across half a football field without your vision!
Texting while driving can cause various types of accidents, such as:
you can cause a rear-end crash when you do not notice the car in front has stopped or slowed
when you drift into the opposite lane of traffic
when you veer into another lane or hit a parked car
when you lose control of your vehicle and flip over
when you leave the roadway and hit a tree, pole, guardrail, ditch, etc.
Texting while driving is illegal in 48 states and Washington DC. The penalties vary by state but may include fines ranging from $20 to $500, points on your driver’s license, license suspension or revocation, mandatory driver education courses or jail time. Texting while driving can be proved as negligence or recklessness in a civil lawsuit. The victim can seek compensation for their injuries and damages from the texting driver’s insurance company or personal assets.
Texting While Driving
Distracted driving can also include eating or drinking when driving. It may distract from the road in various ways, including:
- Reaching for, unwrapping or consuming food and beverages
- Holding, opening or spilling food or beverages could prove fatal to driving safety
- Focusing on the taste, temperature or texture of food or beverages you are enjoying
- Coughing, choking or spilling food or beverages on yourself or your vehicle
Drinking or eating while driving may cause the same accidents as texting, such as rear-end accidents, head-on accidents, side-swipe accidents, or rollover accidents. Furthermore, eating or drinking while driving increases your risk for additional types of accidents, including:
when drivers fail to stop at red lights, stop signs, or yield signs.
Accidents involving pedestrians
when drivers fail to see or yield for pedestrians crossing a street.
when motorists fail to recognize or share the road with cyclists.
when you don’t avoid an animal on the road.
It isn’t illegal to eat or drink while driving but you can be penalized if this causes other violations of traffic laws such as running red lights, speeding and failing to keep a safe distance. Eating or drinking while driving can also be used as evidence of negligence or carelessness in a civil lawsuit. The victim can seek compensation for their injuries and damages from the eating or drinking driver’s insurance company or personal assets.
Adjusting the Radio or Navigation System While Driving
Distracted driving can also be caused by adjusting the navigation or radio system which could affect your driving ability. The radio or navigation while driving is a distraction for several reasons:
- Stopping to look at the screen, dial, or buttons could distract your focus and slow your driving speed significantly.
- Take your hands off of the wheel to touch, turn, or press screens, dials, or buttons.
- Listening to music and changing the station, volume or directions while driving is a dangerous practice.
Adjusting a radio or navigation system while driving can cause similar types of accidents as texting and eating or drinking while driving. This may also increase the risk of other forms of accidents such as:
Lane Change Accidents
These occur when individuals fail to use signals, check blind spots or merge safely when changing lanes.
When entering a one-way street, exit ramp or highway from the wrong direction, wrong-way accidents occur.
Accidents when changing lanes
Sideswipe accidents occur when two vehicles collide when switching lanes.
When one vehicle strikes another at an intersection at right angles.
Most states don’t consider it illegal to adjust the radio while driving; however, you could face fines for other traffic offenses that result from your actions. Civil suits involving negligence claims could use this action against drivers as proof. The victim can seek compensation for their injuries and damages from the adjusting driver’s insurance company or personal assets.
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Talking to Passengers While Driving
Speaking to passengers while driving is another form of distracted driving that affects your ability to drive safely. This will disturb you from driving in several ways:
- Looking at passengers while driving
- Taking your hands off of the wheel to gesture or hand something to your passengers
- Engage in conversation with your passengers while driving
Talking to passengers while driving can cause similar types of accidents as texting and eating or drinking while driving. It can also increase the risk of other types of accidents, such as:
when you don’t notice that the traffic has slowed down or stopped ahead of you
when you cross into oncoming traffic
leaving the roadway and hitting a tree, pole, guardrail, ditch, etc.
when you lose control of your vehicle and flip over
In most states, it is not illegal to talk to passengers when driving. However, it may result in penalties for violating other traffic laws. In civil suits, victims of accidents involving talking to passengers can use the fact that they were distracted or negligent to prove their negligence. The victim can seek compensation for their injuries and damages from the talking driver’s insurance company or personal assets.
Grooming or Applying Makeup While Driving
Grooming or applying makeup while driving is another form of distracted driving that may impair your ability to drive safely. Grooming or applying makeup while driving may disengage drivers from the road in several ways such as:
- Removing your eyes from the road to check mirrors, combs, brushes or makeup may distract your driving ability and be dangerous.
- Handling or dropping mirrors, combs, brushes or makeup products requires you to remove your hands from the wheel – potentially dangerous when driving a vehicle.
- Try taking your mind off driving by focusing on your hairstyle or makeup instead.
Grooming or applying makeup while driving can cause similar types of accidents to text while driving and eating/ drinking while driving, as well as increasing the risk for other forms of accidents like these, including:
these occur when you hit another vehicle or parked car while drifting out of your lane.
when you collide with the vehicle in front by applying brakes too late or too hard.
occur when two vehicles collide while crossing over the centerline.
when drivers veer off the roadway and strike objects like trees, poles, guardrails or ditches that they strike on impact with them.
Grooming or applying makeup while driving is not explicitly illegal in most states but it can still result in penalties if it causes you to violate other traffic laws. Grooming/applying makeup while driving can also be used as evidence of negligence or carelessness in a civil lawsuit filed by a victim of grooming or applying makeup while driving accident. Victims may seek compensation from either their driver’s insurance company or personal assets in relation to injuries sustained during grooming/applying makeup.
Reading or Writing While Driving
Reading or writing while driving is another form of distracted driving affecting your ability to drive safely. Reading or writing while driving can distract you from the road in several ways, such as:
- Taking your eyes off the road to look at the book, paper, note or device
- Stopping to hold, turn, write or type on books, papers, notes or devices will distract your driver and may result in serious accidents.
- Doing anything else while driving will take your focus off understanding, remembering or creating information on a book, paper note or device.
Reading or writing while driving can lead to similar accidents as texting while driving and eating/drinking while driving, and may increase the risk of other types of incidents, including:
when drivers fail to notice traffic has slowed or stopped ahead of them and fail to respond accordingly, rear-end collisions occur.
when crossing into oncoming traffic.
when you hit another vehicle or a parked car while drifting out of your lane.
when you leave the roadway and hit a tree, pole, guardrail, ditch, etc.
Reading or writing while driving is not explicitly illegal in most states but it can still result in penalties if it causes you to violate other traffic laws. Reading or writing while driving can also be used as evidence of negligence or distraction in a civil lawsuit. The victim can seek compensation for their injuries and damages from the reading or writing driver’s insurance company or personal assets.
Smoking or Vaping While Driving
Another distraction that can affect your driving ability is smoking or vaping. This will disturb you from the road in several ways, such as:
- Taking your eyes off the road to look for, light up, inhale, exhale, ash, put out, or drop the cigarette, cigar, pipe, e-cigarette, etc.
- Taking your hands off the wheel to hold, use, pass, ash, put out, drop etc. the cigarette cigar pipe e-cigarette, etc.
- Taking your mind off driving to enjoy, crave, share, etc. the nicotine flavor sensation, etc.
Smoking or vaping while driving can cause similar types of accidents as texting while driving and eating and drinking while driving. Smoking or vaping while driving can also increase the risk of other types of accidents such as:
when you ignite flammable materials in your vehicle such as upholstery gasoline etc.
when you burn yourself others or your vehicle with hot ashes embers etc.
Smoke inhalation injuries
when you inhale toxic fumes from tobacco e-cigarettes etc.
when you expose yourself others or your vehicle to secondhand smoke from tobacco e-cigarettes etc.
Smoking or vaping while driving is not explicitly illegal in most states but it can still result in penalties if it causes you to violate other traffic laws. Smoking or vaping while driving can also be used as evidence of negligence or recklessness. The victim can seek compensation for their injuries and damages from the smoking or vaping driver’s insurance company personal assets.
Daydreaming or Being Lost in Thought While Driving
Daydreaming or being lost in thought while driving is another form of distracted driving that can affect your ability to drive safely. Daydreaming or being lost in thought while driving can distract you from the road in several ways, such as:
- Taking your eyes off the road to stare blankly at the scenery, sky, etc.
- Taking your hands off the wheel to fidget, tap, etc.
- Taking your mind off driving to think about something else, such as work, family, plans, etc.
The same accidents can be caused by daydreaming, or losing focus while driving. The risk of other accident types can be increased by:
Occur when you do not notice the traffic that has slowed or stopped in front of you.
These occur when crossing into oncoming traffic.
When crossing into another lane from their lane of travel, one vehicle hits another vehicle or parked car
Leaving the roadway and striking something such as trees, poles, guardrails or ditches and exiting it again in an unsafe manner.
Most states do not consider daydreaming illegal. However, it may result in penalties for violating other traffic laws. Daydreaming while driving or being lost can be used to prove negligence or inattention in civil suits. The victim may seek compensation from the driver’s personal assets or insurance company for injuries and damages.
How to Avoid Distracted Driving
It is important to avoid distracted driving which can put you and other road users in danger. Follow these tips to prevent being distracted while driving:
Before you start driving, make sure you have everything you need; directions, music, snacks, drinks, etc., and adjust them to your preference. If you need to change something while driving, pull over to a safe place first.
Turn off or silence your phone
Avoid using the phone unless it is an emergency. If you are making or receiving a call or a text message, use a hands-free device or voice command. Better yet, turn off or silence your phone and put it out of sight and reach while driving.
Limit your passengers and conversations
Avoid having too many passengers or engaging in distracting conversations while driving. If you have passengers, ask them to help you with navigation, music, phone calls, etc., or to be quiet if you need to focus on the road.
Don’t eat or drink while driving
If you feel hungry or thirsty, stop at a rest area or a drive-through and eat or drink before resuming your drive.
Don’t read or write while driving
If you will be reading or writing something, do it before you start driving or after you reach your destination. Or pull over to a safe place first.
Don’t smoke or vape while driving
Avoid smoking or vaping while driving, as it can take your eyes and hands away from the road. If you need to smoke or vape, do it before you start driving or after you reach your destination. Or pull over to a safe place first.
Don’t daydream or be lost in thought while driving
avoid daydreaming or being lost in thought while driving, as it can take your mind away from the road. If you find yourself drifting away from reality, snap out of it and focus on the road. Or pull over to a safe place and take a break if you are tired.
Don’t adjust the radio or navigation system while driving
Use a voice command or ask a passenger to do it for you if you need to change something. Or pull over to a safe place first.
Don’t groom or apply makeup while driving
Before you start driving, fix your appearance or after you reach your destination. Or pull over to a safe place first.
How to Find Legal Help After a Distracted Car Driving Accident
You or someone you love may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, suffering and other damages if you were injured in a distracted-driving accident. It can be difficult to pursue a legal claim, especially when you’re dealing with the emotional and physical aftermath of an accident. It is therefore important to seek legal advice after a distracted-driving accident.
You can get legal assistance after a distracted-driving accident in two ways:
File an insurance claim
will allow you to hold the driver’s insurer responsible for any damages that result from their distracted driving. You may encounter resistance from an insurance adjuster who will try to delay, deny or reduce your claim. If the distracted driver is uninsured, or underinsured, you may have to deal directly with your insurance company. An attorney can help you negotiate with the insurance companies and ensure that you receive a fair settlement.
File a personal injury lawsuit
against the distracted driver in civil court to force them to compensate you for your damages. You will need to prove the distracted driver’s negligence and how it caused your injuries. The legal process can be complicated and time-consuming. An attorney can help you gather evidence, file the necessary paperwork, represent you in court, and advocate for your best interests.
Finding legal help after a distraction-related accident can be challenging, particularly if you don’t know where to start or to whom to go. Legal Yogi connects you with the best lawyer to handle your case.
You can find help from Legal Yogi in a number of ways after an accident caused by distracted driving:
You can get four free consultations from lawyers who are experts in distracted driving accidents. Ask questions, discuss your rights and options and receive professional advice.
You can select an attorney based on your preferences such as language, location, and experience. You can communicate with your lawyer via phone, chat, email, etc.
Legal help can be a huge asset to your recovery after a distracted driving accident. Don’t let a distracted driver get away with their negligence and harm. Contact Legal Yogi today and get started on your claim.
Distracted driving can lead to serious road accidents and injuries. Texting, eating and drinking, adjusting radios, talking with passengers, grooming or reading, smoking, daydreaming and other factors can cause distracted driving. Avoiding distracted driving by planning ahead is possible. Turning off your phone and limiting passengers while driving will prevent this. Pull over if you need to do something that takes your attention away from the road.
You can trust that Legal Yogi will only connect you with an attorney who has been vetted and verified by their team of experts.
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