It was a bright, spring day when Ann decided to post a few selfies and a status update of her love for Pharrell William’s song “Happy” to her Facebook page. The trouble is she was using her social media account while driving.
Exactly one minute after this post, Ann crosses the center divide, her car careening towards a recycling truck. Behind the wheel of the recycling truck, Edgar can feel his cellphone vibrating in his pants pocket. As one hand retrieves the smartphone, he glances away from the wheel towards its tiny screen.
Seconds before the cars collide, Ann veers violently to the left, slamming on her brakes mere inches away from a tree trunk. Luckily, no one got hurt this time.
This story is the reality we face when we allow ourselves to be distracted while driving, a leading cause of car accidents in Connecticut and throughout the US. Since the technological boom that gave us cellphones, smartphones, social media apps, tablets, and the like, distracted driving accidents have been steady on the rise.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 1 in 5 crashes are caused by a distracted driver.
“You know we’ve all been guilty of it and it just brings home the realization that it’s really not worth it.” Lt. Chris Wisner
Yet, no matter how exciting, urgent, or easy to accomplish any task seems when you’re driving, it’s a decision that often ends in tragedy. As Lt. Chris Wisner, investigating officer on the scene of a distracted driving fatality, said, “You know we’ve all been guilty of it and it just brings home the realization that it’s really not worth it.”
Across the country, many laws have been enacted in an effort to reduce distracted driving crashes. In Connecticut, anyone convicted of distracted driving is penalized with one point on their license. Yet, even this consequence does nothing to deter many from texting, eating, or engaging in various distractions while driving.
If you’ve been in an accident with a distracted driver, it is understandable you’d want to pursue legal action against the person who hit you. The Flood Law Firm has represented hundreds of Connecticut residents whose lives have been upended by auto accidents and we’re ready to help you.
Teens are doubly at risk for distracted driving accidents, not only due to their general inexperience on the road but also because of their addiction to social media. Teen drivers are less likely to consider the consequences of driving behaviors and often overestimate their ability to handle an automobile in emergency situations.
In the age of instant gratification, 9 in 10 teens expect a text or email to be responded to in 5 minutes or less, which puts added pressure to use their smartphones while driving.
In the state of Connecticut, distracted driving is considered a moving violation with heavy penalties. Drivers are prohibited from using handheld cell phones, but hands-free devices are legal. All electronic devices, even handheld, are restricted for drivers 18 and under, as well as for school bus drivers. Texting while driving is illegal.
While there’s no way to control the behavior of other drivers on the road, you can choose safe driving behaviors when traveling. Here are a few tips on avoiding distracted driving:
If you are injured by a distracted driver, your first instinct may be to contact the other party’s insurer. Typically, liability and comprehensive collision policies have payout limits, and adjusters often offer low settlement amounts that benefit their company’s interest.
This is why the counsel of a personal injury attorney is your best asset after a car accident. Depending on your insurance agent to negotiate for you probably won’t serve you well, especially if your injuries are severe or if you’ve lost a loved one to the accident.
However, an attorney can help guide you through the entire process. From making sure you receive medical care for your injuries to recovering compensation for lost wages, pain, and suffering.
If you’ve been in an accident with a distracted driver, you’re not alone. The Flood Law Firm is here to help you understand your legal options. Contact our office today for your free case evaluation.