If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you’ve likely spent time trying to make sense of what happened. Why did the other driver act so erratically — maybe even crossing the centerline, running a red light, or plowing into the back end of your vehicle?
An increasing number of drivers are distracted by cell phones or GPS navigation. Today’s high-tech world is causing problems when it comes to focusing on the road.
Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.
However, distracted driving can include other activities in addition to texting. Keep reading to discover more about distracted driving and how it could impact your car accident case.
TENNESSEE STATISTICS SHOW A RISING TREND
The number of accidents involving distracted drivers is increasing both nationally and in the state of Tennessee. Consider these statistics:
- In 2017 alone, 3,166 people were killed in the United States in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
- Distracted driving crashes nearly doubled in the state of Tennessee between 2004 and 2014.
- Tennessee tops a nationwide list for distracted driving deaths due to cell phones according to a new study. With 7.2 cell phone-related distracted driving fatalities per 10 billion vehicle miles, the state is at five times the national average of fatalities due to cell phone distractions.
NEW 2019 TN LAW BANS HOLDING PHONE WHILE DRIVING
In July 2019, it became illegal for Tennessee drivers to hold or physically support a phone while driving. If a driver is holding a phone and ends up in a wreck, they can be fined $100.
While this law is important, an investigation into an accident can still help determine if a driver was distracted by a phone conversation itself, even if they were using a hands-free device.
3 TYPES OF DISTRACTED DRIVING
There are three main ways drivers can be distracted:
- Visual – Your eyes are diverted from the road. You may be reading an email, looking at a map, or checking on your children or a pet in the backseat.
- Manual – You remove a hand from the steering wheel to hold a drink, adjust the radio, dial a number, or brush your hair.
- Cognitive – Your mind is not focused on the road. You may be absorbed in a phone conversation, thinking about your to-do list, or daydreaming about that beautiful house that just came on the market.
HOW DISTRACTED DRIVING CAN AFFECT AN INSURANCE SETTLEMENT
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and the other driver is found to be at fault due to distracted driving, you will be eligible for compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Vehicle damage
- Pain and suffering
There are two ways a driver can be found to be at fault for distracted driving: in a police report or through an investigation. If the police report does not clearly conclude that the other driver was distracted, an experienced car accident attorney can help investigate the accident. The lawyer may:
- Obtain cell phone records
- Talk to witnesses who may have seen the driver on a phone or engaged in other activities
- Determine if the driver has previously been involved in distracted driving cases
GET MORE CAR ACCIDENT RESOURCES
To learn more about important steps to take after a car accident, visit our complete online car accident guide.
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