Texting, eating, drinking, and grooming are distractions that many Marion drivers participate in that lead to catastrophic crashes and injuries. The distracted driver is likely the at-fault person, but they will often deny it, making compensation recovery impossible. In addition, insurance companies will shift blame to accident victims to pay them less.
Victims are frustrated when they cannot get the compensation they seek after a collision. The best course of action is to speak with a Marion personal injury lawyer from Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC, with experience handling these cases.
Distracted Driving Statistics
The National Safety Council reports there are anywhere from 300,000 to 700,000 texting and driving accidents annually. The exact numbers are challenging to come by because many distractions are underreported. Drivers between 18 and 20 report texting during a collision; this age group has the most significant portion of distracted drivers overall.
According to data from NHTSA, there were 538 traffic fatalities which is a 25% increase from the previous year. Aside from deaths, hundreds of people suffer injuries from distracted driving accidents requiring medical attention and legal representation from distracted driving accident lawyers in Marion.
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Types of Driving Distractions
Visual distraction requires looking at something else, like the back seat, a shopping center, or a mirror. When a driver is looking elsewhere, they cannot see what is happening and are driving blind. Taking hands off the wheel is equivalent to letting the vehicle drive itself without the fancy self-driving technology.
When a driver listens to a podcast or daydream, they are physically in the car, but their mind is elsewhere, leading to a cognitive distraction. If the driver’s mind is somewhere, then who guides the vehicle?
The distracting activities that drivers participate in are endless. It is essential that a distracted driving accident lawyer in Marion, AR, find and prove the distraction the driver is participating in when filing a claim. Victims focus on the fact the driver was at fault, but their lawyers must focus on establishing those negligent actions.
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How Texting and Driving Causes Collisions
While there are many distractions that divers partake in, the most popular is texting while driving. It is also the most dangerous because it requires manual, visual, and cognitive attention to perform this action.
On average, it takes five seconds to read or respond to a text message, and a lot can happen within those few seconds. Distracted drivers believe that taking a few seconds to react to a light changing green will inconvenience drivers, but it is typically not deadly.
However, taking their eyes off the road for a few seconds, regardless of if a driver is stationary or in motion, means they are not paying attention to their surroundings. Stopping at a light requires attention, as an emergency that requires the vehicle to move can happen around. So, texting at a light can still lead to a collision.
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Paul’s Law in Arkansas
Arkansas is cracking down on distracted driving, and in 2009 they implemented Arkansas Code §27-51-1501, which prohibits drivers from using handheld wireless telephones for texting. Drivers between 18 and 20 are prohibited from using handheld devices while driving. Drivers in this age group can make calls using a hands-free device, but drivers under 18 do not have this option.
Paul’s Law was enacted in 2017, increasing the penalties for texting and driving. It also introduces penalties for using social media and other applications while driving. The law also treats distracted driving infractions like DUIs, where the more offenses there are, the higher the penalties.
The exceptions to the law are drivers can use their cell phones to report illegal activity, get emergency medical assistance, or prevent injury.
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Prohibited Wireless Phone Usage Areas in Arkansas
Arkansas takes distracted driving seriously, and the state government has created various laws addressing many distractions. While there are exceptions to some, there are two prohibited areas where ALL smartphone usage is prohibited. There are no exceptions for using cell phones in school or highway work zones.
Drivers cannot use wireless phones when children are outside the school during school days and hours. When workers are present in highway work zones, phones must be put away.
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Navigation Systems Are as Dangerous as Texting
Having a GPS at our fingertips is convenient but is also dangerous. Drivers can use map and navigation apps while driving with specific stipulations.
Using a navigation app requires drivers to input an address and select a route which is a cognitive, manual, and visual distraction. It is advisable to plug in the address before hitting the road.
Once the route is set, drivers must avoid looking at the GPS or map and only listen for turn-by-turn directions. It is common to need to reroute, and if the driver must interact with the device, they must pull over somewhere safe until they have new directions. Distracted driving attorneys frequently see GPS as a cause of accidents when representing injury victims.
Seeking Compensation for Distracted Driving Accidents
Victims of distracted driving accidents will incur many expenses after an accident, and they must seek compensation for these losses. Victims can recover economic and noneconomic damages from a successful car accident claim. Distracted driving accident victims can recover monetary compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, disability, and more, depending on individual factors.
Working with a distracted driving accident attorney in Marion, AZ, is essential to determine the compensation available. Comparative negligence, texting and driving laws, and other factors will be necessary for financial recovery. Compensation amounts will vary by individual and case, and victims must have someone in their corner with experience calculating losses.
Call a Marion Distracted Driving Attorney Immediately
After a car accident, victims are unsure where to turn or what to do, but they feel at ease when speaking to Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC. Our law firm offers free initial consultations and works on contingency fees. Victims know they are getting assistance for their claim and will not pay a dime unless they get compensation.
Schedule an initial consultation with a Marion distracted driving attorney if you are the victim of such an accident.