Distracted Driving Accidents
Distracted driving is a very serious offense that could cost innocent people their lives. According to the National Safety Council, there are approximately 1.6 million car accidents each year as a result of people using their phones while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims that 9 people are killed in more than 1,000 auto accidents each day in the United States. They also say that people under the age of 20 are the most susceptible to be involved with distraction-related crashes.
Distracted driving is defined as anything that causes a driver to take their eyes off the road either visually, manually, or cognitively. Visual distractions involve taking your eyes off the road, manual distractions include physically taking your hands off the wheel, and cognitive distractions take your mind off of driving. Distractions while driving can include, but are not limited to, replying to a text message, talking on the phone, using a GPS, eating and drinking, and interacting with other passengers.
For teen drivers, texting while driving is an extremely dangerous behavior. As new drivers, they do not have a lot of experience driving either by themselves or with others. Therefore, when they take their eyes off the road for a few seconds, the results can be devastating. It is imperative that teen drivers learn to not use any communication devices while driving. With technology rapidly developing and innovating, there are more ways for people to become distracted, such as cell phones, radios, and smartwatches.
Unfortunately, many people acknowledge that it is dangerous to drive with distractions, but they admit to doing it anyway. To combat this issue, car companies have installed precautions that sense when a person is not focused on the road. Volvo, a Swedish automobile company, has engineered a new brand type of cars that have cameras and sensors to detect when a person begins to lose focus. The car will alert the driver and display it on their dashboard. This is similar to cars that signal when a seatbelt is not plugged in. Also, many car companies have blind spot warnings that alert the driver and can stop the vehicle if they do not react to another car. Lane departure warnings in cars also have the ability to gain control of the steering wheel and forcefully move the car back into the lane.
Pennsylvania’s Texting-While-Driving Ban prohibits any driver from using any type of communication device to send, read, or write a text-based communication while driving. If someone violates this rule, they will face a penalty of 50 dollars and any adjoining expenses. Texting violations will not add demerit points to a person’s driving record. However, depending on the situation, the driver can also be charged with reckless driving. If the accident involves a fatality, a homicide-by-vehicle conviction can be charged.
States throughout the country have been implementing and updating their legislation in order to reduce distracted driving. Common laws include banning texting and hand-held electronic usage and prohibiting phone usage for specific populations. In some states that do not ban all types of electronics while driving, teenagers and school bus drivers are specifically restricted from using their phone when they are operating a vehicle.
In addition to drivers, pedestrians can also be victims of distracted driving. Researchers from the University of Washington conducted a study that showed pedestrians who text are 4 times less likely to watch where they are going. When people do not focus, they can disobey traffic signals, fail to hear another car, or cross streets without looking for incoming traffic.
If you have personally been injured in an accident involving distracted drivers, you may be entitled to compensation benefits. Depending on the accident, people can become severely disabled and unable to work. Our team of professionals at O’Connor Law has years of experience working with clients in similar situations. If you believe to be entitled to benefits because of an injury stemming from distracted driving, call our firm at 800-518-4529 for an attorney to review of your case.