According to Distraction.gov, distracted driving occurs when any activity diverts your attention away from the road. Many different activities can distract you while driving, but texting is the most dangerous behavior as it takes your mind, hands, and eyes off the road for an average of five seconds per text.
What behaviors can distract a driver behind the wheel?
It is important to note that texting is not the only form of distracted driving. Other dangerous behaviors include:
- Eating or drinking
- Talking on the phone
- Using a GPS
- Talking to/arguing with passengers
- Changing the radio
- Looking for something in the car
- Daydreaming or paying attention to things outside the car
How common are distracted driving accidents?
As you probably already know, distracted driving is a frequent cause of auto accidents. Distraction.gov reports that in 2014 alone, distracted drivers caused accidents that killed 3,179 people and injured around 413,000.
In addition, 10 percent of all teenaged drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 involved in fatal auto accidents in 2013 were distracted, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
While this number is already much too high, the amount of drivers who text and drive is increasing. The number recently increased from 1.7 percent in 2013 to 2.2 percent in 2014, according to the NHTSA.
Distracted driving is a big danger here in Pennsylvania, too. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation report that distracted drivers caused 13,964 Pennsylvania auto accidents in 2014.
Is using your phone while driving against the law?
Though it may be dangerous, it is not against Pennsylvania’s law to talk on your cell phone while driving. This is true even in regards to hand-held cell phone use.
However, it is against the law for all Pennsylvania drivers, regardless of age or experience, to send or read a text message while driving.
Because texting while driving is illegal here in Pennsylvania, police may lawfully pull you over for that single offense. In other words, police do not need another reason to pull you over, such as reckless driving or speeding.
If you are caught texting while driving here in Pennsylvania, you will face a penalty of $50.00. According to the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania, over 2,100 drivers received citations for distracted driving in 2014.
Distracted Driving Can Help Prove Negligence
It is negligent to drive while you are distracted. And because it is illegal, it is certainly negligent to drive while you are texting. Fortunately, this means that if you are able to prove that another driver was distracted at the time of your accident, you can prove that he is liable for your injuries.
A car accident attorney from Cordisco & Saile LLC can help you establish the required elements of negligence:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care (i.e., drivers owe the duty of safe, reasonable travel).
- The other driver breached that duty (e.g., the other driver was texting).
- The other driver’s negligence was the proximate cause of your injury (e.g., the other driver was texting, ran a red light, hit you and caused your injury)
- You sustained actual harm from the defendant’s negligence (e.g., medical bills, lost wages)
How do you prove the other driver was distracted?
So you know the other driver was distracted, but how do you prove it? Proving the other driver was texting can be difficult but it is possible. You can subpoena the driver’s cell phone records to prove that he was texting at the time of the accident.
If getting the other driver’s cell phone records is not possible, you have other options. You can prove the driver was texting through eyewitness statements. Another driver may have seen the other driving texting at the time of collision. Make sure that you get the eyewitness’ contact information. If you did not speak to the eyewitness at the scene, you should be able to get her information off of the police report.
Third, a written statement made by a police officer, or a police report, may also be helpful in proving the driver was texting while driving. On occasion, upon being questioned by police, the driver who caused the auto accident may admit that he was texting while driving at the time of the accident.
If you cannot prove the other driver was texting at the time of the accident, all hope is not lost. You may be able to prove other careless behavior associated with texting, such as swerving, drifting, tailgating, rear ending another driver, etc.
If you are able to prove that the other driver’s negligence was the cause of your accident, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. You may be able to receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss or enjoyment of life, permanent disfigurement, and more.
To recover damages, you must also be able to prove you incurred them. Using medical records, W2s/paystubs, and pain journals can help you prove your damages.
Call the Pennsylvania Car Accident Attorneys for Help with Your Claim
Proving negligence and recovering compensation in a distracted driving accident claim is not always easy. Fortunately, you have a dedicated support system. The Pennsylvania car accident attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC are here for you.
We can help you file your claim, gather evidence of the other driver’s negligent behavior, manage negotiations with the other driver’s insurer/legal team, and file a lawsuit if necessary. We make it our mission to get you the compensation you and your family need and deserve.
Contact us today to get started on your claim: 215-486-8196.