As some District of Columbia drivers may know, distracted driving is responsible for many fatal accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Such distraction may be due to a myriad of actions that take the driver’s focus from the roadway such as applying makeup, looking at a navigational device or talking on the phone. Approximately 9 out of 10 adults have a smartphone, and the NHTSA estimates such devices are involved in 12 percent of fatal motor vehicle accidents.
According to the agency, 3,300 people were killed in 2012 and 421,000 injured because of distracted driving. In fact, 25 percent of the accidents involved cellphone use. One study, done by the University of California, questioned 700 individuals, aged 30 to 64, about the use of cellphones. Common attributes were driving a minimum of once a week and owning a smartphone.
Three-quarters of the respondents reported making calls from their motor vehicle while driving, using a hands-free device, while 56 percent reported they used a hand-held phone. early two thirds said they used the smartphone to text at a stop light while the remainder said they did not text or only did so if there was an emergency. Of the hands-free callers, 70 percent did not know it was risky behavior even though it is believed to be as bad as driving after drinking.
A driver who is distracted by texting or talking on a cellphone and who then causes a motor vehicle accident may be held liable for injuries experienced by another motorist or passenger. The injured person may suffer financial and physical harm leading to medical bills or lost time at work. A personal injury attorney can review the police investigation report and other evidence to determine whether a lawsuit should be filed on behalf of an injured victim seeking damages from the responsible party.