Legal Magazine

“Careless” Driving May Hide True Distracted Driving Numbers

Posted on the 20 February 2014 by Caglelawfirm @ZCagle

distracted drivingIn a recent article published in Insurance Business America, a spokesman said that “careless” driving citations may actually disguise many “distracted driving” as causes of accidents.  “It is really hard to track and see realistically how many of these accidents are being caused by distracted driving, because a lot of these accidents are actually coded as “careless driving” convictions; whereas, if someone is drunk driving and causes an accident, they will get  a drunk-driving conviction”.

Kanetix conducted a 2011 Leger Marketing survey that showed that 18% of drivers admitted to texting and talking while driving but they speculate that by now those numbers have exploded due to an increase in smart phones and tablets.  “Conservatively, I’d say that 18% is more like 35 or 36% today”.

Unlike “drunk driving”, distracted driving leaves less evidence.  “There’s not a great way to measure that (distracted driving), and it’s not coded that way, by the police or the government on the motor vehicle record”, said Graham of Kanetix. A drivers blood alcohol level (BAC) can be tested as evidence of drunk driving, but it is harder to prove that someone was distracted and driving. Sometimes a conviction of “prohibited use for a handheld device–your typical texting/cell phone violation”. But for the most part, Kanetix believes many of the “careless driving” convictions are in reality “distracted driving” offenses. However, there is no hard evidence to prove that theory.

Other key factors in causing car accidents is the 36% of people who admitted to speeding. Below are the percentages of behaviors “admitted” in the survey:

  • Consuming food or beverages while driving……….39%
  • Speeding—36%
  • Talking/Texting on cell while driving………..18
  • Following too closely…………16%
  • Road rage…………………11%
  • Failing to signal……………10%
  • Weaving in and out of traffic…………..7%
  • Applying makeup while driving…………..3%
  • Parking illegally……….3%
  • Parking in handicapped spaces……2%
  • Driving in the carpool lane………1%

According to the survey, almost one in five described themselves as “a perfect driver”

Without a doubt, inattentiveness is the leading cause of car accidents in my experience

Whether it is failing to follow traffic laws including speeding and not obeying signs, failing to follow at  a safe distance or use of handheld devices, inattentiveness is just that–failing to pay attention.  So, what’s the big deal? The big deal is that if you fail to pay attention due to a multitude of reasons, you can easily be in a serious if not fatal car accident involving yourself and others.  It takes about 5 seconds to send a text message and during that time, you can travel the length of a football field if you are in a car going 55 mph.  A whole football length is a huge distance to be “disengaged” from your car.  So much can happen in 5 seconds.  In fact, most injuries and fatalities happen in a matter of seconds. So, if you think that “checking out” for the length of a football field is insignificant, I have would have to strongly disagree.

The person responsible for causing a car accident while engaging in distracted driving can be liable for damages to the victims.  That person can be liable for medical bills, lost wages and other damages as determined by the court. If you have been in an auto accident and you are unsure if the driver who hit you was involved in some sort of distracted driving, you may need a personal injury attorney to help you investigate. Investigation may include subpoenas for phone records, and/or statements of drivers and witnesses and/or expert accident reconstruction experts.  There are many ways to investigate the causes or factors in a car accident and what is “listed” on the police report may or may not be the actual cause.  Police officers take statements after an accident but they do not determine “liability”. Only a jury can truly determine “liability”.

If you have been injured in a car accident and you are unsure if distracted driving or inattentive driving was a factor, you may need to talk with an experienced personal injury attorney. Our attorneys understand that no two car accidents are identical.  A car accident involving serious injuries can be life changing experiences.  For  a free consultation seven days a week, call (800) 685-3302 or locally, (314) 276-1681

Source:  ‘Careless’ category hides true distracted driving numbers. Insurance Business. 2/17/14

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