Study does deep dive into distracted driving auto accidents

On Behalf of Griswold LaSalle Cobb Dowd & Gin LLP

There are many dangers on the California roads from speeding, drowsy driving, drivers who are under the influence and plain recklessness. However, distracted driving is a statewide and nationwide problem that is not going away no matter how much law enforcement discourages it or the amount of information is presented as to how treacherous it is. Since so many Californians rely on their vehicles as a method of transportation to and from work, school and leisure activities, the possibility of a crash because of a distracted driver is cause for concern. This can also injure or kill pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists. Distracted drivers do not discriminate in who they crash into. Research into the problem can yield information about remaining safe, but after a collision occurs, it is also imperative to know the available options.

Omnitracs study assesses trucker distraction to assess its frequency

Truckers are on the road seemingly more than anyone, so it is useful to look at their statistics for distracted driving to gauge its prevalence across the spectrum. Using various technologies including video of drivers as they are in the cab of the truck and telematics data, researchers saw that the overwhelming majority of activity right before a crash (90.3%) involved talking on a cellphone. Nearly 61% were believed to have been texting; almost 43% were grooming themselves behind the wheel.

This research makes it clear that using a hands-free device has a good record for improving safety. In addition to the possibility of an accident, distracted driving leaves drivers more vulnerable to a traffic stop, citations and other problems that can negatively impact them. They also tend to roll through stop signs at nearly triple the rate of drivers who are not distracted. They are more than twice as likely to drift out of their lane. Fatal crashes have been spiking overall with more than 42,000 people losing their lives in a road accident in 2020. That is 8% higher than in 2019. Adding to the concern is that fewer drivers were on the road in general in 2020 because of the ongoing crisis indicating that behaviors are playing a fundamental role in the rise in fatalities.

Evidence can show that a crash was due to distraction

Lives can change or be ended in an instant when a driver decides to look down at a cellphone. Although legislators, law enforcement and researchers continually emphasize the potential risk of distracted driving, it is a sad reality that drivers will still do it and have auto accidents because of it. This is especially worrisome if commercial drivers who are trained professionals and should know better are partaking in the activity. The number of passenger car drivers who are distracted is likely worse and they are not as experienced as truckers. Medical costs, diminished ability to take part in family activities, lost income and other inevitable challenges will come about after an auto accident. Personal injury and fatalities are common with these incidents. If the collision was because of a distracted driver, it is wise to accrue evidence to prove it so there are alternatives when thinking about how to proceed.

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