Distracted Driving Accident Lawyers

Distracted Driving Accident Attorneys - Man Driving While Looking At His Phone

Distracted driving is a common cause of car accidents that leads to thousands of deaths every year, and it happens when a driver loses focus on their primary task of driving and starts to focus on something else. This can include talking or texting on a cell phone, eating or drinking, adjusting the radio or navigation system, or even talking to passengers. Any distraction that takes the driver’s eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or mind off driving can increase the risk of a crash.

If you have been injured in an accident where there was a distracted driver involved, the lawyers at Harding Mazzotti, LLP are here to help. Call 1-800-LAW-1010 today to speak to one of our experienced attorneys.

Types of Distracted Driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) distracted driving is “a specific type of inattention that occurs when drivers divert their attention away from the driving task to focus on another activity instead.” NHTSA divides distracted driving into three types based on the variety of ways a driver can lose focus:

Visual Distractions

Visual distractions include any task or situation that causes a person to take their eyes off the road. Some examples of visual distractions are:

  • Reading a text message
  • Scrolling social media
  • Watching a video on a cell phone or other electronic device
  • Looking at a navigation system or map
  • Looking at another person

Manual Distractions

Distracted Driving Accident Lawyers - Woman Applying Makeup While DrivingManual distractions occur when the driver removes their hands from the wheel and are consequently not in full control of the vehicle. Some cases of manual distraction include:

  • Holding/reaching for a cell phone or texting
  • Eating and/or drinking
  • Changing the radio
  • Handing something to another passenger
  • Putting on makeup or otherwise grooming
  • Changing clothes

Cognitive Distractions

Cognitive distractions are when the driver’s mind focuses on another task is therefore not completely focused on the road, including:

  • Ruminating on emotional or stressful situations
  • Conversation with a passenger
  • A phone conversation
  • Managing children or other passengers in the car

Manual, visual, and cognitive distractions sometimes overlap (called combination distractions), especially in the case of using a cell phone, when you might be looking at the phone, holding the phone, and thinking about what you are doing on the phone.

Distracted Driving Accident Statistics

According to an NHTSA report, in 2021:

  • There were 3,522 fatalities in crashes involving at least one distracted driver.
  • An estimated additional 362,415 people were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes involving distracted drivers.
  • There were 644 nonoccupants (pedestrians, cyclists, and others) killed in distraction-affected traffic crashes.
  • Eight percent of fatal crashes, 14 percent of crashes where someone was injured, and 13 percent of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes were reported as crashes affected by distraction.
  • Drivers 15-20 years old is the age group that has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the fatal crashes. Seven percent of drivers in this age range who were involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted.
  • At the time of the crashes, 5% of all drivers involved in fatal traffic collisions were reported as distracted.
  • 377 fatal crashes were reported as having cell phone use as a distraction (12% of all distraction affected fatal crashes).
  • A total of 410 people died in crashes involving at least one driver who was engaged in cell-phone-related activities.

Avoiding Distracted Driving Accidents

How can you avoid a distracted driving accident? The New York Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee recommends the following for both drivers and passengers.

For Drivers:

  • Stay focused on your surroundings and the road ahead of you.
  • Do not use your cell phone to text or call while driving. Remember to set up your GPS or music playlist before taking to the road. In the case of an emergency, pull off the road safely before using your device.
  • Avoid arguments or otherwise stressful conversations with other passengers to reduce cognitive distractions.
  • Avoid using your hands to eat, drink, or groom yourself while driving.
  • Drive sober – never drive impaired by drugs or alcohol.

For Passengers:

  • Stay quiet and alert but speak up if you notice the driver is distracted.
  • Don’t create distractions for the driver.
  • Offer to help with navigation, changing the radio, or adjusting the temperature.

Signs of Distracted Driving

To keep yourself safe on the road, it is not only important to not drive distracted, but also to recognize when another driver on the road may be driving distracted. The other driver’s behavior as well as the vehicle’s motion may each provide signs of distracted driving.

Distracted Driving Accident Attorneys - Woman On Cell Phone While Driving A CarHere are some indicators to look out for as described by the NHTSA:

  • Failure to signal when turning or changing lanes.
  • Failure to maintain a consistent speed.
  • Slow response to traffic signals or other vehicles
  • Hand is seen holding a device.
  • Nearly hitting another vehicle or other object
  • Driving into opposing or crossing traffic
  • Abrupt actions, such as turning or lane changes.
  • Intermittently looking down to check device
  • Nighttime glow of device

While some of these warning signs only apply to using a cell phone while driving, many apply to general distracted behavior behind the wheel. Common indications that a driver may be paying attention to something other than the road include inconsistent speed, weaving, and failing to use the turn signal.

Drivers may try to conceal their cell phone use if they are aware of the local restrictions against texting and driving. A driver may be using their device if they are frequently glancing down or, if they are driving at night, the glow of their cell phone is visible.

New York Distracted Driving Laws

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) states that using any kind of handheld phone or electronic device while driving is illegal. Talking on a cell phone, composing, sending, reading, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving, or retrieving emails, texts, or websites, watching, capturing, and sending pictures, and playing games among the many examples of these activities.

If you violate this law, the police may stop you and issue you a traffic ticket, and be subject to a fine and driver violation points on your license.

Contact a Distracted Driving Accident Attorney Today

If you or anyone you know has been injured in an accident involving a distracted driver, or an automobile accident of any kind, the attorneys at Harding Mazzotti, LLP have a wealth of experience in dealing with insurance companies and in protecting your right to receive the compensation you’re entitled to. Our attorneys handle all types of motor vehicle accidents, including those involving automobilesmotorcycles and all types of truck accidents. Call our experienced legal professionals today for a free consultation at 1-800-LAW-1010. We’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Awards and Recognition