Driving requires those behind the wheel to use their hands, eyes and minds, along with other senses, such as hearing, in order to safely navigate the streets and highways across the country, including those here in Florida. Unfortunately, not all drivers consider the consequences of removing even one of these factors by allowing distractions to take their attention off the road and the traffic around them.
Distracted drivers cause thousands of serious crashes around the country every year, sometimes with debilitating or deadly results. In 2014, approximately 431,000 people suffered injuries and 3,179 people died in accidents involving a distracted driver, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Some obvious – and some not so obvious – distractions
You more than likely recognize the following activities as distractions while driving:
- Using your smart phone or cell phone
- Reading a map, book or other printed material
- Watching a video
- Drinking or eating
You probably see drivers engaging in one or more of these activities routinely. You might even make a conscious effort to engage in these activities yourself while you drive. However, distracted driving involves engaging in any activity that takes your attention off the road. This makes the following activities just as dangerous as the more obvious distracting behaviors:
- Using a GPS or other navigation system
- Talking to your passengers
- Adjusting the CD player, radio or MP3 player in your car
This list does not cover every possible distraction, but these tend to be the most common.
Police ticket drivers for texting, but not for eating a hamburger. Why?
Research shows that sending or receiving a text takes your eyes off the road, requires the use of at least one of your hands and requires your cognitive abilities as well. Essentially, texting and driving are two mutually exclusive actions. If you engage in one, the other receives none of your attention.
Being involved in a crash with a distracted driver often comes with serious or fatal health consequences for innocent motorists like you or a member of your family. Serious injuries often leave lasting effects that alter how you live and work. Losing a loved one leaves a hole in your family that never goes away.
Know your legal rights after a crash involving a distracted driver
If this happened to you, you need to understand the legal remedies available to you. After discussing the matter with you, an independent investigation conducted by your attorney could reveal evidence establishing that the other driver’s negligence caused or contributed to your injuries or the death of your loved one.
Insurance companies attempt to settle accident claims quickly and cheaply. They often deny you the right to pursue the full compensation to which you are entitled. An experienced attorney can ensure that the distracted driver is held responsible for the damages you suffered and that you receive the maximum amount of monetary relief possible.