Many drivers are tempted to check their phone and respond to emails or text messages while in the car. There is an increasing awareness of the serious hazard posed by texting and driving. It’s among the most dangerous driver distractions. Many states have passed laws banning texting while driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that an estimated 481,000 people in the U.S. are manipulating electronic devices or using cell phones while driving in any given daytime moment.
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by texting and driving in Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio or Indiana, consult with an experienced Louisville car accident lawyer. At Becker Law Office, we handle a wide range of automobile accident cases, including accidents caused by distracted drivers who were texting.
Increasing Recognition of Dangers of Texting
Distracted driving, and in particular texting while driving, has become a focus of national concern in recent years because of the number of traffic deaths and injuries associated with drivers focusing on cell phones.
Engaging in any activity that distracts a driver from the important task of operating a moving motor vehicle is dangerous. However, NHTSA says that texting while driving is by far the most hazardous because it requires three types of attention from the driver: manual, visual, and cognitive.
- Manual distraction occurs when drivers use their hands for something other than operating the vehicle. That is certainly the case with texting, whether it involves reaching for the phone, scrolling, typing, editing, or sending a message.
- Visual distraction occurs when drivers focus their eyes away from the road for any reason, such as reading a text message or looking at a cell phone while composing a message to send.
- Cognitive distraction occurs when a driver’s attention is taken away from the primary job of driving. When attention is focused on reading or writing text messages, the essential activity of safely operating the 3,000 lb. moving vehicle is neglected and accidents are much more likely to happen.
NHTSA reports that, in a recent year, 10 percent of all fatal crashes and 18 percent of all injury crashes involved distracted driving. For that same year, the National Safety Council estimates that 26 percent of all traffic crashes in the U.S. involved talking or texting on hand-held cell phones.
According to a 2015 study sponsored by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, distraction due to cell phone use appears to be far more prevalent than reflected in official government statistics based on police reports. The researchers reviewed footage of nearly 1,700 accidents from 2007 to 2013 in which the cars were equipped with cameras. The two most distracting behaviors were talking with passengers and cell phone use.
- Drivers distracted by cell phones took their eyes off the road excessively. On average, they were looking away from the road 4 of the final 6 seconds before a crash occurred.
- Cell phones were visible in 21 percent of crashes involving running off the road, and were not visible but likely in another 13 percent of those accidents.
- Cell phones were visible in 10 percent of rear-end collisions and suspected in an additional 8 percent of accidents.
What the Law Says About Texting in Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Indiana
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, texting is currently banned for all drivers in 47 states. Texting messaging is banned for all drivers in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee. In all four states, the laws against texting are “primary enforcement” law. That means that an officer can issue a ticket for the offense of texting while driving alone, without any other traffic offense having been committed.
Unfortunately, drivers make careless driving choices every day, including texting while driving, despite the laws, and innocent people are injured. A knowledgeable lawyer can obtain the cell phone records of a driver who caused a collision and determine whether the driver was using a cell phone for answering or sending text messages at the time of the accident.
Legal Help for Victims of Texting and Driving Accidents
If you were hurt in an accident caused by the negligence of a distracted driver, you may be entitled to claim compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, physical and emotional pain and suffering, and more.
When you work with our firm, our skilled negotiators will fight for your rights with the insurance company. If it is in your best interests to go to trial, your case will be handled by a seasoned trial attorney.
Becker Law Office has been handling cases since 1985 and has represented more than 33,000 clients. Contact us by phone or online to schedule your free case evaluation.