Distracted Driving Accidents
Tobias, McCormick and Comer, LLC is a Mobile, Alabama-based personal injury law firm that has worked extensively with members of the local community who have been injured or killed by the negligence of others. This includes distracted driving accidents.
Distracted driving refers to any activity that diverts a driver’s attention from driving. Whether it be adjusting the radio, talking to people in the vehicle with the driver, or texting while driving, distracted driving is anything that takes the driver’s attention away from the task of safe driving.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,142 lives were lost to distracted driving in 2019 in the United States. Anytime a driver gets the behind the wheel, the decisions they make can increase or decrease their chances of getting into a car accident.
Using a cell phone is a major distraction and creates risk for accidents and death on our roadways. One example from NHTSA states that it takes approximately five seconds to read a text. That means that in a vehicle traveling 55 miles-per-hour, the vehicle will travel the length of one and one-third football fields in the time it takes to read the tweet.
Studies have shown that a driver’s perception/reaction time – that is, the time to see a hazard, for the brain to recognize the hazard, and the body to respond to the hazard (such as hitting the brakes) – is greatly reduced when the driver is distracted. Alarmingly, studies have shown that a driver who is texting and driving (or reading an email or a social media post) has the same slowed perception/reaction time as that of an impaired driver whose blood alcohol content is 0.08. Not surprisingly, texting and driving is extremely dangerous.
In 2012, Alabama became the 38th state to make it illegal to text and drive. Drivers can be charged with reckless driving and face fine of $25 for the first offense, $50 for the second offense and $75 for third or consequent violations of this law. Furthermore, the State also bans anyone under the age of 18 from any kind of cellphone use, even hand-free.
Alabama is currently considering a Hands-Free law which would make it illegal for any driver to use a hand-held cell phone. This regulation would enable drivers to utilize cell technology only through hands-free devices. Even this doesn’t preclude a driver from being distracted, as talking on the phone hands-free can also cause a driver to be distracted.
What we all can do:
- Parents: talk to your teen drivers about being focused on driving and set a good example. Our children imitate our behavior, and it is especially important to show how seriously you take distracted driving by not doing it. Even more importantly, putting the phone down while driving will keep you, and your loved one in the car with you, safe.
- Employers: make sure employees know they are not expected to take or make work calls while driving.
- Everyone: make it a habit to stow your phone while driving and pay attention to the road.
Contact the experienced car accident lawyers at Tobias, McCormick and Comer if you have been in a car wreck in the Mobile, Alabama area and suspect a distracted driver was the cause. Time is critical for the investigation to be able to preserve phone records, such as text messages and call logs, and launch investigations into the cause of the accident.