It would seem obvious that anyone operating a vehicle on the Alabama roadways should pay attention to the task of driving and the other drivers around them. However, distracted driving is a prevalent problem. It is quite common that drivers become overly relaxed, confident, or complacent while driving and endanger the people on the road around them, their passengers, and themselves. If you find yourself a victim of a car accident caused by distracted driving, contact an experienced car accident lawyer at Charles McCorquodale Law today to learn how we can help you.
The statistics available regarding distracted driving are staggering. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2015, distracted drivers were the cause of 3,477 fatalities and 391,000 injuries. The number of distracted drivers has increased consistently over the last ten years. Those that are victims of these accidents know that this is more than just a statistic. The financial and emotional costs resulting from a distracted driving car accident are substantial and potentially life-changing.
What Causes Distracted Driving?
There are three general categories of distraction. Visual distraction happens when a driver shifts his or her eyes from the road. Manual distraction is when a driver removes their hands from the steering wheel. Thirdly, cognitive distraction occurs when a driver loses focus on driving and mentally focuses on another task.
Visual Distraction – There are many circumstances that can cause a driver to take focus from the road. Examples include when someone looks for an item inside the car, checks or adjusts their navigation system, changes the radio station, looks away to enjoy a scenic view or to observe something happening outside of the car, checks the mirror, or adjusts the mirrors, seats, or temperature in the car. Looking away, even just for a second, can jeopardize a driver’s response time enough to be the cause of an accident, even when the driver is generally obeying other traffic rules and regulations.
Manual Distraction – In many situations in Mobile, drivers take their hands off the steering wheel, which obviously lessens the ability to control a vehicle as well as the ability to respond to the movement of traffic. Examples of manual distraction are eating or drinking while driving, talking on a handheld mobile phone, adjusting your or your child’s seatbelt, reaching for various controls or knobs inside the car, smoking, and searching through a bag, wallet, or purse. Some of these examples will result in a driver that is both visually and manually distracted.
Cognitive Distraction – There are times when a driver’s eyes are on the road and hands are on the steering wheel, but focus drifts from driving to something else. Examples of cognitive distraction may be if a driver is talking to another passenger, thinking about something that upsets them, talking to someone on a hands-free device, experiencing road rage, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or even if they are merely drowsy or daydreaming. Maintaining diligent focus on driving is sometimes difficult, but being focused on something else or unable to focus on driving significantly raises the risk of an accident.
Texting While Driving
There are some activities that could be included in all three categories of distraction. The most common of these is texting while driving. If a driver is reading or typing a text message or email while they are driving, they are visually distracted because they are looking away from the road. They are also manually distracted by holding the device in their hand in order to open or type a message. Lastly, they are cognitively distracted because they are focused on the content of message instead of the activity of driving. According to a AAA survey, 65% of drivers self-reported that they either read or sent a text message while driving during the previous thirty days. The risk of a car accident during such activity is substantially higher, and by their own admission, most drivers are placing themselves and those around them at risk by reading or sending a text while driving. Another study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that two in three drivers reported talking on the phone while driving and one in three admitted to sending, typing, or reading an email or text message while driving. Additionally, young drivers, from the ages of 16-24, are more likely to be distracted by messaging.
How Does Distraction Cause an Accident?
Even when obeying Mobile, AL traffic laws, distraction increases the risk of an accident. When drivers are distracted, they are less likely to see a dangerous situation unfolding on the road. If a car in front of them slams on brakes, someone cuts them off, or highway traffic slows quickly, a distracted driver may not be able to react in time to prevent an accident. Also, drivers that are distracted may drift off the road and abruptly overcorrect, causing an accident in the adjacent lane or even a head on collision with a car driving the opposite direction. Distraction can cause a driver to not notice a red light, stop sign, or road construction signs that indicate lane closures or speed limit changes.
What Do I After an Accident?
If you are the victim of a car accident caused by distracted driving and have suffered injury or loss, the car accident lawyers at Charles McCorquodale Law can help you get the compensation you need to recover. Our team is skilled and experienced in taking on the defendant and insurance companies to negotiate a settlement that will cover the costs incurred because of the accident. These costs may include medical expenses, damage to your property, lost wages or a reduction in future income potential, and damages for the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of the car accident.
Please contact the professionals at Charles McCorquodale Law today so that we can schedule a free consultation to discuss your claim. We are here to help you get the compensation you require to recover from a distracted driving car accident.
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