The famed and widely-respected U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regularly compiles statistics concerning distracted driving behaviors from coast to coast. This may initially seem like a strange undertaking for an agency that is primarily tasked with studying diseases. However, the connection between the CDC and the scourge of distracted driving becomes far clearer when one thinks of distracted driving for what it is at its most basic: a public health concern.
Despite continuous educational campaigns launched again and again over the last 20 years and despite the fact that most American motorists understand that distracted driving is an inherently dangerous undertaking, distracted driving behavior remains shockingly common. According to the CDC, in 2019 alone, more than 3,100 individuals were killed and approximately 424,000 were injured in auto accidents involving a distracted driver.
Why Distracted Driving Is So Dangerous
The task of operating a vehicle safely involves keeping one’s eyes on the road, one’s hands on the steering wheel, and one’s mind squarely on the task of driving itself. Distracted driving involves neglecting one or more of these essential safe-driving behaviors.
The reason why texting while driving is particularly hazardous is that this practice involves neglecting all three essential safe-driving behaviors. Texting requires one to take one’s eyes off the road, hand or hands off the steering wheel, and mind off of the task of driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has long sought to educate motorists about the fact that, when traveling 55 miles per hour, taking one’s eyes off the road for only five seconds causes a driver to cross the entire length of a football field without visually perceiving where they are going or any obstacles that may be in their way.
Legal Options for Distracted Driving Injury Victims and Surviving Loved Ones
As an experienced car accident lawyer – including those who practice at The Law Offices of Barry P. Goldberg – can confirm, the medical expenses, lost income, and other losses resulting from a distracted driving accident can be enough to overwhelm even the most stable and thoughtful of family budgets. Thankfully, the law broadly protects the right of injury victims to pursue compensation from those who have caused them physical harm.
Generally speaking, successful personal injury lawsuits filed by car accident victims must prove that a distracted driver acted negligently, recklessly, or in an intentionally harmful way and caused the victim’s injuries as a result. As long as a genuine distraction on the part of the at-fault driver can be proven, this isn’t usually a hard case to make. With that said, phone-based distraction isn’t the only kind of distraction that can lead to an accident and some kinds of distraction can be harder to prove than others. Working with an experienced attorney can help to ensure that victims who are rightfully owed compensation receive fairly-valued compensation awards and justice for the harm that they have suffered.