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New Haven, Connecticut | Weber & Rubano Law Firm

Why Is Distracted Driving Dangerous?

November 16, 2023Articles

We all lead busy lives, and in today’s world, cell phones are at the center of them. But when behind the wheel, the cell phone and other distractions pose a serious risk to the driver and others sharing the roadway. Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that the average time it takes to read a simple text is about five seconds. In that time, a driver traveling at 55mph crosses a distance the length of a football field with their eyes off the road.

No one ever thinks it will happen to them, yet distracted driving caused 3,522 fatalities in 2021, up from 3,142 deaths in 2020. Distracted driving causes over 400,000 injuries in the United States each year. Many of these deaths and injuries occur to pedestrians and bicyclists as well as to those in other vehicles. Distracted driving is a rising problem despite laws enacted against it in many states as well as the availability of options for hands-free technology.

Common Distractions for Today’s Drivers

Eating While Driving or Changing a Song on a Playlist Count as Distracted Driving

It takes only seconds for an accident to occur, and drivers who fail to remain alert and vigilant behind the wheel face serious consequences as well as causing devastating impacts to others. Common distractions cited in distracted driving liability claims include the following:

  • Texting
  • Using a phone’s GPS
  • Selecting a playlist or podcast from a phone
  • Checking emails
  • Scrolling through social media
  • Taking photos and selfies
  • Making hands-on calls
  • Adjusting a sound system
  • Eating while driving
  • Interacting with others in the car including children in the back seat
  • Grooming or applying makeup
  • Reaching for a dropped item
  • Daydreaming or cognitive distractions

These common distractions cause the driver’s focus to stray away from their driving and take their eyes away from the road. Distracted drivers cause accidents by veering into other lanes, rear-ending vehicles in front of them, running through stop signs and red lights, colliding with pedestrians and bicyclists, and accidentally driving off the roadway or into obstacles. Because distracted driving accidents often happen while the motorist is traveling at full speed, the injuries in distracted driving accidents tend to be severe or catastrophic.

Distracted Driving and Liability

Driving while distracted leaves the motorist liable for damages in a car accident. Cell phone records, eyewitness testimony, and testimony of law enforcement and paramedics arriving at the scene of an accident may prove that a driver was distracted in the moments leading up to the accident. Causing an accident due to distraction is negligence and leaves the distracted driver liable for damages. Proving liability in a car accident claim requires showing that a case meets the following legal points of liability:

  • The driver owed a duty of care to take reasonable measures behind the wheel to prevent causing injury to others
  • They breached this duty of care by acting negligently
  • The negligent breach of duty directly caused the accident and injuries
  • The injury victim suffered significant damages from the injury

Damages in a New Haven car accident claim refer to more than just property damage to a vehicle. Damages can include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering to the victim. When someone else causes the accident due to distraction, they’re responsible for the consequences to the victim.