Now more than ever, it is important for drivers to pay attention out on the roads. An increase in technology has led individuals in cars to have access to cell phones, apps, tv screens, GPS devices and more. Many vehicles have screens installed with programs that can take a driver’s attention away even more so than in the past.
With all this technology, and everyone on their smart phones, you may find yourself injured in a motor vehicle accident. You can always do your part to remain alert and inform yourself of the dangers, but you can’t always count on other drivers to pay attention. Many times, a distracted driving accident will lead only to a fender-bender, but other times, the implications of inattentive driving are deadly.
What is distracted driving?
Distracted driving is the act of operating a motor vehicle while doing something that is not necessary to operate the vehicle, and that can possibly impair the person’s ability to drive safely. Many people immediately think of cell phone use or texting, but the issue has been around for a long time. Other forms of distracted driving include eating, putting on makeup, shaving, talking, reading, writing or tending to pets.
Laws on distracted driving
There are laws on the books in many states and locales for distracted driving. In the past, certain locations have specific driving laws that prohibit shaving and other low-tech distractions. Recently, more and more laws about cell phone use have emerged.
Many states forbid cell phone use altogether, even with hands-free devices. Others prohibit having the cell phone in your hand while operating a vehicle. Other states have broader laws that forbid any use of a gadget while driving. It all depends on the state that you drive through, but the best policy is to avoid all distractions while you drive.
A police officer may be able to pull you over if he sees you texting, or he may have to observe another moving violation first. This is the difference between primary and secondary enforcement laws. Other laws specifically target younger, inexperienced drivers.
If an accident caused you to become injured, and you suspect that the other driver was using a cell phone, you may need to prove the other party was negligent for this reason. During the case, a lawyer may be able to subpoena the phone records to prove the person responsible was on the phone. Even if the person using a phone was the one hit by another, he or she may experience contributory negligence, meaning he or she contributed to the accident in some way, even if he or she didn’t actively hit the other car.
Your expectations after an accident
You may be worried that you will have to pay a big fee in advance if you choose to hire an attorney to help you. This isn’t the case. Many personal injury attorneys will handle cases on contingency. You may also be able to avoid a lawsuit altogether if you can settle the matter out of court.