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Distracted Behind the Wheel

Traffic deaths are on the rise and for the first time in a decade, car accident fatalities in the United States have exceeded 40,000 in a year.  The most  obvious culprits are drivers who are text while behind the wheel, and according to the Federal Communications Commission at any given point during daylight hours around 660,000 drivers are using their cell phones. In 2014 alone, 3,179 people in the United States were killed in an crash that involved a distracted driver and nearly about 431,000 were injured, making up nearly 20% of all crashes that year.

The increased use of cellphones has contributed to the increase in distracted driving collisions and lawmakers around the country have responded with various bans and restrictions. There are 14 states that currently ban handheld cellular devices, 37 states that ban cell phone use for teen and novice drivers, and 46 states ban text messaging for drivers.

However, drivers have been distracted since before the invention of the cellphone, and we are all familiar with the other driving distractions known to contribute to car collisions and accidents. For example, according to the National Traffic Safety Administration drowsy driving is implicated in 100,000 car crashes per year, leaving 71,000 people injured and 1,500 dead. Other activities that distract drivers and contribute to auto accidents include:

  • Eating and drinking
  • Adjusting the radio
  • Reaching for something
  • Drowsiness
  • Watching a video
  • Shaving
  • Putting on makeup
  • Reading maps
  • Using a navigation system

Almost all states have enacted some laws to discourage, ban or punish distracted driving. Depending on state laws the nature of the driver’s distraction may affect liability in a car accident lawsuit. Typically, the fact that a driver was distracted significantly increases the likelihood that he or she will be found responsible for damages in the accident.

Cell phone records now detail when people use mobile devices and how they use their mobile devices, evidence related to cell phone calls, use and messages can be critical in car accident lawsuits. In a personal injury lawsuit resulting from an auto accident distracted driving can be used as evidence of negligence or recklessness. Evidence of the driver’s cell phone data can be used to show that the driver was distracted shortly before or at the time of the accident. Even if someone else causes an accident, cell phone use from the other car could be used as evidence of “contributory” or “comparative” negligence. This could prevent the plaintiff from recovering damages for his or her injuries entirely, or reduce the size of compensation.

Even if there is no specific law against the specific distracted behavior or activity the driver was doing, evidence of distracted driving can help prove negligence, civil liability, and compensation. If you feel that you have a case in where the driver was distracted and would like to have an experienced, established, and proven successful plaintiffs attorney take a closer look at your case, call the personal injury attorneys at Friedland law Group now.

The South Florida personal injury attorneys at the Friedland | Carmona, Jon Friedland and Michael Carmona, handle all types of negligence, product liability, personal injury, negligent security, slip/trip and fall, and car accident cases throughout the state of Florida, including; Boca Raton, Homestead, North Miami, South Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Pembroke Pines, Hialeah, Kendall, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, and Palm Beach. Call the Miami personal injury attorneys today and let our family take the best care of your family.

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