We always believe that the unthinkable cannot happen to us, but the sad truth is that a fatal accident can happen at any time, to any one. Accidents can happen for any number of reasons, but the highest occurrences are the direct result of distracted drivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2013 there were 3,154 deaths caused by distracted drivers in the United States. That is one too many deaths that could have been prevented.
With all the technology available at just the tips of our fingers, it is no surprise that a driver can easily become distracted and cause a horrific car accident. But it’s not just cell phones and GPS gadgets either. There are drowsy drivers and others who simply are not focused on the road in front of them. A simple turn of the head for just a few seconds can cause an unawareness that leads to something bigger.
However, the truth is that the highest number of these accidents are caused by drivers who are on their phones checking emails, sending texts, or checking social media, with the highest incidents occurring among 16-24 year olds. In Texas alone there was a 6% increase in accidents in just one year.
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In order to stay safe on the roads, we should always be aware of our surroundings, paying full attention to our actions and those of the drivers around us. Also, avoid searching for items or doing other physical activities that draw your attention when you are behind the wheel. Not only is your life at risk, but the lives of the other drivers around you as well.
According to TxDOT, distracted driving can include any of the following:
- Eating behind the wheel
- Using GPS
- Adjusting radio stations
- Using the Internet and posting to social media
- Talking on your cell phone
- Checking email
- Any type of grooming
Not engaging in these activities while driving can save a life, so prepare yourself by completing these tasks before you get onto the road, and you won’t be tempted to perform them while driving.
Hazards Caused by Use of Cell Phones
As mentioned above, there are numerous reasons that a driver can become distracted, but cell phone use is definitely among the highest. While using your mobile device, many aspects of your normal behavior can become impaired, and research has suggested that utilizing a mobile device while driving is equivalent to drunk driving.
A few hazards that can arise include, but are not limited to:
Vision – Staring at your phone means not fully concentrating on what is happening around you. For example, if a car in front of you suddenly brakes, your reaction time is severely affected by this distraction and can lead you to colliding with the car. In fact, sending a text message requires for you to take your eyes of the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. If traveling at 55 MPH, this can be the same as driving the length of a football field blindfolded.
Cognition – Your brain can only process so much at one time. Just because you are a great at multitasking does not mean you should do so while driving. As tempting as it may be to read what’s going on in your emails, it can always wait. Your mind needs to be ready at all times to respond to dangers and hazards on the road and this cannot be done with a cell phone in your palm.
Manual – According to a recent article, drivers only have about half a second to steer clear of danger. We all learned that the proper way to maneuver a vehicle is having our hands set at 10 and 2, but many do not always abide by this rule. Taking our hands off the wheel at some point in time can cause us to lose control of our vehicles. Do as you were taught and keep your hands on the wheel at all times.
Can Wrongful Death be Proven when Distracted Driving is a Factor?
You might think that it can be difficult to prove that distracted driving was the cause of your loved one’s death, but experienced attorneys can help to prove it otherwise. If a party’s negligence on the road led to the fatality, there are ways that your lawyers can prove this, such as requesting cell phone records.
Don’t hesitate – if your loved one was involved in a fatal accident due to distracted driving, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. Call the Garcia Law Group at 956-661-8000.
We want to help you find answers to your questions and guide you in seeking the justice that you and your family deserve.
Also, please visit www.distraction.gov to understand more about how you can avoid being involved in a fatal accident.
Take the pledge and be careful on the roads.