Driverless cars will be a boon to commuters who text and update social media during their daily drives. Until driving becomes wholly automated, however, drivers need to put their phones down and devote their full attention to piloting their vehicles through crowded Los Angeles streets and highways.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has estimated that distracted driving accounts for 80% of all vehicle accidents. In 2014, approximately 3,000 people died in car crashes caused by driver distraction, and more than 400,000 drivers and automobile passengers suffered injuries in distracted driving accidents. In the same year, more than 60% of California drivers remarked that they had either been in collisions or barely avoided crashes with drivers who were using their smartphones at the time of the event.
Correlation Between Smartphones and Distracted Driving
Data and statistics collected by the NHTSA show a clear connection between smartphone usage and accidents caused by distracted driving:
- A driver whose focus shifts from controlling a car to reaching for a smartphone is three times more likely to have an accident.
- Texting while driving creates an accident risk that is 23 times greater than non-distracted driving.
- On average, a regular text message takes a driver’s eyes off of the road for five seconds, which, at highway speeds, is long enough for a car to travel more than 100 yards.
Distracted Driving and Liability for Injuries
Recovering damages for property loss and injuries that you have suffered in an accident will depend, among other matters, upon your and your attorney’s ability to prove that another party’s negligence was the “proximate cause” of your loss and injuries. If the other party failed to pay attention to road conditions and traffic, for example, because he or she was texting or using a cell phone, then your attorney can use that as solid evidence to prove proximate cause and negligence.
Every cell phone creates its own time stamp on texts and social media postings, and your car accident lawyer will connect that time stamp to the exact time of the accident to establish the other party’s liability.
Every year, California collects fines from several hundred thousand drivers who are convicted of using handheld smartphone or texting while they are driving. Using a smartphone is rapidly being treated as per se proof of negligence in an auto accident.
What to Do if You Are in an Accident Caused by a Distracted Driver
Drivers in Los Angeles are obligated to refrain from using their smartphones in ways that create distractions. If a distracted driver does collide with you, call the Los Angeles car accident lawyers at The Salamati Law Firm at your earliest opportunity. Our car accident attorneys will gather and preserve all proof of the distractions that caused the accident, including smartphone records, and will interview witnesses and analyze police reports before memories fade and the cause of the accident is thrown into question.
In theory, driverless cars will lead to substantial reductions and improved safety on roads and highways by reducing the level of human error that goes hand-in-hand with distracted driving. Until that happens, the auto accident attorneys at The Salamati Law Firm will help drivers and pedestrians who have been injured in distracted driving accidents to recover the compensation that is justly due to them.
Additional “California Distracted Driving” Resources:
- CA.gov, Cell Phones, Texting. It’s Not Worth it. It’s Just That Simple. http://test-www.ots.ca.gov/Media_and_Research/Campaigns/Distracted_Driving.asp
- Mercury News, California’s Distracted Drivers More Common This Year, State Says. http://www.mercurynews.com/2015/07/14/californias-distracted-drivers-more-common-this-year-state-says/
- Distracted Driving Awareness Month – Take the Pledge to Drive Safely