Understanding the Dangers of Distracted Driving Accidents

Distracted driving claimed 3,522 lives in the United States in 2021, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration | NHTSA. In Alabama, there were 49 certified fatalities associated with distracted driving during that same year. These facts may only be numbers to you, but to many families, they represent the pain of a lost loved one.

That’s why it is important to be aware and alert when driving. Keep reading to learn about how to help prevent distracted driving incidents.

Types of Distractions and Their Impacts

There are many forms of distracted driving. The most common include:

1. Visual Distractions

These draw the driver’s eyes away from the road.

  • Checking a smartphone
  • Glancing at a billboard
  • Starting at an accident
  • Searching for dropped items

Even split-second glances away from the road can lead to accidents.

man distracted because he is eating and drinking while driving

2. Manual Distractions

These involve taking your hands off the steering wheel.

  • Eating
  • Drinking  
  • Adjusting the radio
  • Texting

NHTSA studies show sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. At 55 miles per hour, that is equivalent to driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.

3. Cognitive Distractions

These distractions take your mind away from the task of driving.

  • Daydreaming
  • Deep conversation
  • High-stress levels
  • Alcohol/Drugs

Distractions like this cause reduced focus on the road and delayed reaction time.

4. Technological Distractions

These are often a combination of visual, manual, and cognitive distractions.

  • Smartphones
  • Car infotainment consoles
  • Navigational devices

The Alabama Department of Transportation reports that a texting driver is twenty-three times more likely to get into a crash than a non-texting driver.

Simply put, Alabama classifies distracted driving as anything that diverts your attention from driving. Attorney William Messervy further explains this in the video below.

Holding Distracted Drivers Accountable

Laws and regulations: In 2012, in response to the widespread issue of distracted driving accidents, Alabama passed a law prohibiting the use of wireless telecommunication devices to write, send, or read text-based communication while operating a vehicle. Code 32-5A-350 was amended in 2023, making it illegal to hold a cell phone while driving. Violations result in fines and point accumulation on the violator’s driving record.

Proving fault: Proving driver distraction following an accident can be challenging but is essential to building a strong case. Evidence can include:

  • Witness testimony
  • Phone records 
  • Surveillance footage
  • Statements made by the distracted driver

Compensation: Victims of distracted drivers may be entitled to compensation for their injuries and damages to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and aid in helping the victim move forward. One of your initial steps should be to consult a personal injury lawyer.

The Role of Car Accident Lawyers in Distracted Driving Incidents

An experienced personal injury attorney will guide you through the next steps following an accident. Some ways your attorney will help include:

Gathering evidence to build a solid case – A personal injury lawyer specializes in collecting evidence to build a robust case against the distracted driver.

Negotiate with insurance companies for fair compensation – Insurance companies will not always offer fair compensation. Your lawyer, a skilled negotiator, will work to get you a fair settlement to cover your losses.

Represent personal injury victims in court, if necessary – If your case goes to court, your lawyer will advocate for your rights and ensure the best chance of a favorable outcome for you.

Distracted driving accidents are preventable. Unfortunately, they will still happen. If you have been the victim of a distracted driver, please contact the attorneys at Timberlake & League for a free consultation.

Share this post: