Distracted Driving Accident Attorney

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:

  • Texting
  • 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.

Federal Funds Helped Increase Distracted Driving Enforcement in California

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary announced that California and Delaware would receive $2.4 million to support the federal government’s latest initiative to reduce distracted driving. This program helped test the effect of increased law enforcement and high-profile public education campaigns on distracted driving. The California program took place in the Sacramento valley region, comprising eight counties and 3.8 million residents.

“Distracted driving is an epidemic. While we’ve made progress in the past three years by raising awareness about this risky behavior, the simple fact is people are continuing to be killed and injured – and we can put an end to it,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Personal responsibility for putting down that cell phone is a good first step – but we need everyone to do their part, whether it’s helping pass strong laws, educating our youngest and most vulnerable drivers, or starting their own campaign to end distracted driving.”

The official plan, “Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving,” outlines a plan that builds on the national momentum that Secretary LaHood and USDOT have spearheaded for several years. Recognizing the extent and complexity of the problem, the plan:

  • Encourages the remaining 11 states without distracted driving laws to enact and enforce this critical legislation.
  • Challenges the auto industry to adopt new and future guidelines for technology to reduce the potential for distraction on devices built or brought into vehicles.
  • Partners with driver education professionals to incorporate new curriculum materials to educate novice drivers of driver distraction and its consequences. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show drivers under the age of 25 are two to three times more likely than older drivers to send text messages or emails while driving.
  • Provides all stakeholders with actions they can take that go beyond personal responsibility to helping end distracted driving nationwide.

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.