Distracted driving is more common than drunk driving and equally deadly. According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 9 people die and more than 1,060 are injured each day nationwide because of a distracted driver. In 2011, 3,331 people died due to distracted driving accidents. These types of accidents are tragic – and avoidable.
Distracted Driving Accidents
Most people think of distracted driving only as talking or texting on a cellphone while driving, but it includes much more than that. Distracted driving is driving while performing any activity that takes your attention away from the road. Examples include:
- Using a smartphone
- Using a navigation system
- Adjusting the radio, CD or MP3 player
- Reading a map
- Eating and drinking
- Chatting with passengers
- Grooming yourself (e.g., applying makeup, brushing hair, etc.)
- Watching a video
- Having rowdy passengers
- Rubbernecking (e.g., looking at an accident scene, monument, etc.)
While all these types of activities increase the chance of an accident, texting is among the worst. If you text while driving your risk of crashing is 23 times higher than a non-texting driver. Moreover, according to the government website, Distraction.gov, when you send or receive a text while driving, your eyes are off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds: the equivalent of driving the length of a football field at 55 mph – blind.
Distracted Driving Injuries
Victim of distracted drivers can suffer a variety of devastating and debilitating injures, including: brain and spinal cord damage, broken bones and fractures, internal injuries, paralysis, coma, and wrongful death.
California Law on Distracted Driving
In California, it is against the law for any driver to use a handheld phone in any manner while behind the wheel. Novice drivers (those with recently-acquired licenses or anyone under 18) are prohibited from using hand-free cell phones as well. The penalty for violating this law is $159 for a first-time offender. Repeat offenders will be made to pay a $279 fine. In April 2013, more than 57,000 California drivers were ticketed for using cell phones while driving.
We Can Help Distracted Driving Victims
If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident, it’s a good idea to speak to a California personal injury attorney specializing in distracted driving accidents as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can:
- investigate the circumstances of the crash to determine whether any other parties were driving distracted at the time of the accident;
- help you file a personal injury claim; and
- aggressively prosecute your claim against insurance companies to ensure you receive the compensation you’re entitled to for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
A reputable personal injury attorney will put your interests first and work hard to ensure that you receive the compensation you need and deserve. If your claim is successful, you may receive compensation for your medical expenses and bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional trauma and costs relating to wrongful death. Don’t wait contact us today if you have been the victim of a distracted driver.
The California motor vehicle attorneys at the Appel Law Firm LLP are dedicated to helping San Francisco Bay Area residents receive compensation for injuries and wrongful deaths arising from distracted driving accidents.