As we wrote in a previous blog post, distracted driving is one of the leading causes of personal injury accidents in the Hudson Valley. This trend is also true nationwide; there are 1,000 accidents a day that involve a distracted driver, and distracted driving killed over 3,400 people in 2016 alone. The National Safety Council also believes that distracted driving crashes are under-reported, meaning that the problem is probably more prevalent than the statistics show.
The two goals of this blog post are to help prevent distracted driving accidents, and to show how distracted driving could be proven in a personal injury case. If you were injured by a distracted driver, and seek to recover damages and compensation, give us a call at 845-600-0000 to set up a free consultation at our offices in Kingston or Poughkeepsie.
Here’s what we can say about distracted driving:
1. There are many kinds of distracted driving
Some of the many ways that a driver can be distracted include:
- Using a cell phone or other electronic device
- Talking to passengers in the car
- Drinking or eating
- Reading a magazine
- Shaving, combing hair, brushing teeth, putting on makeup
- Adjusting the radio or fiddling with controls
- Staring at an accident, billboard, or something other than the road
2. Proving distracted driving is easier with cell phone cases
It’s somewhat easier to prove that a driver was distracted by a cell phone because there are clear records that can be subpoenaed.
- Call records – was the phone sending text messages or was there an ongoing call at the time of the accident?
- Social media posts and photos – were there timestamped posts or photos taken by the driver before the accident occurred?
It’s also possible that an eyewitness, dash cam or traffic/surveillance camera was able to pick up on the driver being distracted at the time of the accident.
3. Gather evidence after the accident
You may not always be able to do it, but if you or a passenger can, take pictures and videos of the scene after the accident. In addition to tire marks and the damage to your vehicle, it’s possible there is an open fast food container, a magazine, or a cell phone laying around in the passenger seat of the other driver’s car. However, if you’re injured, please don’t put yourself at further risk to obtain evidence.
4. Get a police report and witness statements
If the police are called to the scene of an accident, they’ll take statements from all of the parties involved in the accident. They may make their own observations about evidence that suggests distracted driving, or it’s possible that the at-fault driver will admit fault to the officer.
There also may be witnesses at the scene of the accident, including your own passenger, the other driver’s passengers, nearby pedestrians, or people in other vehicles. Did they see anything?
5. Vehicle data may help
Some newer vehicles have onboard computers that keep track of the driver’s activity at all times. It’s possible that there is a computer record of the driver adjusting controls in the seconds before the crash.
6. Don’t contribute to the problem in the future
We’d be remiss if we didn’t include a reminder that distracted driving hurts and kills people. Even being distracted for a few seconds could be the difference between life and death. Here are some tips:
- Don’t multi-task; stay focused on the task of driving
- Eat and drink before or after you drive, not during
- Pull over to make phone calls
- Declutter and put away loose items that might fly around
- Keep your eyes on the road, not on billboards or buildings
- Groom yourself at home
Have you been injured by a distracted driver in an accident? Give us a call at 845-600-0000 to schedule a free consultation with our experienced legal team. We’ll push back against insurance companies that don’t want to give you the full compensation for your injuries and trauma.