Driving may feel like a routine activity, as many in California and elsewhere use a vehicle on a daily basis to get to and from all their destinations. While it might be a routine to use a personal vehicle, every time a diver gets behind the wheel, it is a new experience because many factors, such as traffic, weather and motorists, change constantly. Additionally, a driver never knows when and if they will encounter a negligent or distracted driver, which could result in a motor vehicle accident.
Distracted driving facts and figures
Because smartphones are relied on just as much or maybe even more than a personal vehicle, one often does not go very long without checking their cellphone. Thus, it is likely that a driver will check a text, read an email or take a call while driving. All of these actions could cause a driver to take their eyes off of the road, hands off the wheel and mind off the task of driving. Even if the distraction is momentary, this could lead to an unfortunate collision, harming those involved in the accident.
Based on recent reports, distracted driving resulted in the death of 3,142 in 2019. This rate was up almost 10% from the previous year. This tells researchers that the dangers associated with cellphone use while driving are not going away; however, they did find that there is a way to change the trend and reduce the number of accidents caused by distracted driving.
Laws and safety efforts
Currently, every state in the U.S. has some form of restriction against distracted driving; however, these laws vary greatly in scope and rigor from state to state. With some states considering enhancing current distracted driving laws, researchers considered the effectiveness of these efforts.
When it comes to implementing effective laws and safety policies to address distracted driving and curb the use of cellphones while driving, researchers found that certain elements made them more effective. This includes the usage of unambiguous language that clearly defines:
- When and how a cellphone can and cannot be used while driving
- The penalties and fines associated with a violation
- Having a combination of high-visibility enforcement of these laws
- Targeted public information and a sustained coalition-building efforts
While there is no way to completely stop distracted driving caused by cellphone use, it is possible to reduce it. Nonetheless, those harmed by distracted drivers should be aware of their rights and options. Civil actions, such as a personal injury claim, are available. This legal action could help the injured party hold the driver accountable for the harms and damages suffered, such as pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages and other related damages.