Texting and Driving Accidents
A person texting takes their eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field without looking up.
If someone has injured you in a texting and driving accident, you should generally be able to hold them liable to recover your losses. However, this is not always as easy as it sounds. The other driver likely understands that texting while driving is irresponsible and may not admit to texting to avoid more trouble.
Much has been said about the dangers of distracted driving. While most states in the U.S. have banned texting and driving for all drivers, Missouri lags behind. In Missouri, there is a ban for texting and driving only for drivers under 21 years old. Attempts have been made to extend this ban to all drivers. Recently state legislators have again heard testimony on a bill that would ban all drivers from texting while driving, except in an emergency.
Texting and Driving Statistics
Statistics have proven that texting and driving is a leading cause of car accident injuries and fatalities. Erie Insurance conducted a survey in 2015, which revealed that a third of drivers admit to texting while driving. Most of us have observed drivers on the road, who have one eye on a cell phone screen and another on the road. It is needless to say that these distracted drivers put their lives and others at risk.
Each year, as many as 3,000 people are killed and 400,000 people are injured by distracted drivers. According to Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, texting while driving increases the risk of a car accident by 23 percent. Drivers who engage in texting while driving has a slower reaction time than drunk drivers.
Current Legislation Not Enough
Studies have shown that teenagers are more likely to text than other drivers on the road. 11 percent of drivers in the age group of 18-20 who caused an auto accident admitted to texting while driving. However, it is a mistake to think that younger drivers are the only ones who text and drive. The population of cell phone users is growing older. A survey by Pew Research Center shows that seventy-three percent of all cell phone owners text. Ten percent of people in the age group of 55-64 years text and this number is rapidly growing.
Other Driving Distractions
There are many other activities that negligent drivers participate in that endanger others on the road. These may include:
- Programming GPS devices while driving
- Using their laptop computers
- Talking on their cellphones
- Applying makeup
If you were in a car accident because of someone else’s negligent driving, it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced lawyer who has recovered compensation for clients in similar situations. Attorney Christopher Hoffmann is well respected in the legal community and has the skill required to recover the maximum compensation for you.
It is critical to never text while operating your vehicle, for the sake of your passengers and the drivers around you. If you have been in an accident caused by another individual who was attempting to text, you have rights against him or her to recover for your medical bills, lost wages and other damages.
According to a recent study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, when younger drivers use a cell phone while driving, they are more likely to be involved in a car accident. Interestingly, the study concluded that just talking on a cell phone does not increase car accident risks.
The new study was conducted among 109 adult drivers and 42 teenage drivers, using surveillance cameras inside the car, a GPS mechanism, and sensors to monitor the activity of the respondents. The study was conducted to find out how cell phone activities impact car accident risks; however, it did not consider any difference between handheld and hands-free mobile phones.
The study found that dialing or reaching for a cell phone increases accident risks by seven times. Other activities that increase the risk of accidents include distractions outside of the car, eating foods, and trying to reach an item inside the car. Adult drivers are more likely to be involved in car accidents if they dial a cell phone while driving.
Using Textalyzers to Discourage Distracted Driving
State laws are in place that prohibit teens from texting and driving. A device known as a Textalyzer is being touted as a solution for putting a stop to cell phone use while driving. The device would allow police or law enforcement officers to evaluate a driver’s recent cell phone activity at an accident scene or traffic stop. The law enforcement officer would request the cell phone of a driver involved in an accident and use the Textalyzer to access the phone’s operating system. The Textalyzer analyzes recent activity such as emailing, taking photos, and texting. The Textalyzer does not display the content of messages.
The purpose of this technology is to help law enforcement officers to determine if the driver was using the cell phone while operating the vehicle. Refusing to submit to the Textalyzer would invite the same consequences as refusing a breathalyzer test.
Reducing Driver Distractions
Researchers at the University of Utah said that the findings of the new study do not align with those of earlier studies because most of the earlier studies concluded that talking on a cell phone increases car accident risks. They warned that the findings of the new study may not be reliable because they used sensors to track driver’s distractions, but sensors cannot capture the reaction of the eyes the way in-car cameras can do.
Even though the new study did not associate car accidents with talking on a cell phone, safety experts believe that it is a good idea to avoid any kind of cell phone activity while driving. This will help drivers concentrate more on driving and reduce the likelihood of becoming distracted.
4 Signs Distracted Driving May Have Caused Your Accident
If someone has injured you in a texting and driving accident, you should generally be able to hold them liable to recover your losses. However, this is not always as easy as it sounds. The other driver likely understands that texting while driving is irresponsible and may not admit to texting to avoid more trouble. Here are four signs that may help you prove that the negligent driver was texting.
1. Bent Driving Posture
Driving posture is one of the easiest ways to tell whether the other driver is texting while driving. A focused, defensive driver will sit upright and have their eyes on the road. However, a texting driver will typically adopt a bent posture and operate their phone from their lap.
2. There’s a Lighting Glow on Their Phone
If you are driving at night and see the glow of their phone, there is a good chance they are texting or browsing. Light coming from their phone may illuminate their face or the inside of their car.
3. Phone Records
Phone records are the surest way to prove your suspicion the other driver was texting during the accident. They will show all the text messages sent and received just before the accident. However, text messages are considered private and confidential. An experienced injury lawyer may get a subpoena to access the negligent driver’s phone records. This can help prove their liability and secure your compensation.
Sadly, it’s common for drivers to take their eyes off the road when texting. This can make them swerve to avoid a rear-end collision. As a result, the driver may lose control of the car and drift out of their lane, thereby hitting you. With a street cam, you may be able to prove that the negligent driver caused an accident by swerving. Fortunately, an experienced car accident attorney may be able to help you access video recordings.
How to Prove Distracted Driving Caused Your St. Louis Auto Accident
If you have been involved in an accident with a distracted driver in St. Louis, you may be wondering how to prove the other driver was, in fact, distracted and caused the accident.
Proving Distracted Diving
When it comes to claiming compensation for damages and injuries and determining fault, it is essential to know and investigate if the accident was caused by distracted driving or due to another reason. The following are some pointers that can generally be used to investigate the cause of the accident.
Checking Phone Records
During the investigation, an accident victim’s attorney may request that the phone records of the other party be looked at. Check for calls or texts sent that coincide with the exact time of the accident. This will enable one to determine if the alleged party was distracted by using a cell phone.
Eyewitnesses like pedestrians, drivers in adjacent lanes, and even passengers in the other driver’s vehicle can give accounts and help in identifying distracted driving. It is essential to get information and personal details of these eyewitnesses to be contacted again. However, it is most important to get their statements as soon as possible, while the details of the accidents are still fresh in their minds.
Accident Reconstruction Experts
Accident reconstruction experts investigate the scene of accidents and try to reconstruct the accidents by observing skid marks and other physical evidence. They then draw conclusions about a number of things like the driver’s speed and reaction time.
Check the Surrounding Areas for Video Cameras
Many locations, shops, buildings, traffic signals, junctions, and intersection points have video cameras and CCTV surveillance installed for security reasons. The footage in the video cameras in the surrounding areas where the accident has occurred can provide clues and relevant evidence.
Often during the investigation, the driver involved may admit to using a phone or a handheld device while driving. This admission is called ‘admission of a party opponent’ and can be used in court to prove distracted driving.
Speak With an Experienced St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer
It is imperative to determine fault and prove distracted driving as soon as possible. When it comes to car accidents, time is of the essence. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a texting driver, you are generally entitled to compensation. However, your word of mouth is not enough to win such a case. You generally need to convince the insurance company the other driver was negligent—this is not easy to do, especially on your own. An experienced St. Louis car accident attorney can help protect your rights and prove negligence.
If you have been injured in an accident, seek legal assistance from an experienced St. Louis car accident lawyer as soon as possible to ensure your legal rights are protected!
Free Consultation with a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer
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