While the use of modern technology has enhanced our lives immensely, it has also caused overwhelming and catastrophic consequences on American roadways. Distracted driving has become one of the leading causes of automobile accidents in this country. Distracted driving is any activity that diverts your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind away from the primary task of driving. The personal injury attorneys at Galfand Berger have been advocating for the rights of automobile accident victims and their families for more than 65 years. We recognize that distracted driving has become an epidemic in this country and are dedicated to raising awareness of the dangerous situation.
Diverting your attention away from the road not only puts a driver’s life at risk, but also endangers the lives of passengers, other drivers on the road and innocent pedestrians. While texting is one of the most alarming activities that many drivers engage in, there are many other actions that drivers undertake that can be just as dangerous. These include talking on or using any hand-held device, eating, using a navigation system, grooming, applying makeup, adjusting controls in the car such as temperature controls or changing radio stations, reading, and even talking to passengers.
Engaging in any of the activities listed above has the potential to distract a person in one of three ways and cause an automobile accident. The first is a visual distraction, which essentially means a driver takes his or her eyes off the road. The second is a manual distraction in which a driver takes his or her hands off the steering wheel. Lastly, a cognitive distraction occurs when a driver takes their mind off the basic task of driving. Many times a distraction can involve more than one of these types such as texting, which combines all three types of distractions: eyes, hands and mind.
The injuries and fatalities associated with car crashes due to distracted driving are preventable events. Automobile accidents caused by distracted driving can cause devastating and life-altering injuries to those victims involved. Individuals who are harmed or injured by a distracted driver should seek legal counsel to pursue a personal injury claim to hold the negligent driver accountable for their negligent and, in many cases, criminal actions and to seek compensation for their medical expenses, ongoing treatments, lost wages and pain and suffering.
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 5,474 people killed on roadways in the United States in 2009 with another 448,000 injured as a result of distracted driving. Of those individuals who were killed, 995 of those crashes involved the use of a cell phone. Of those injured, 24,000 of the cases cited the use of a cell phone as the distraction. Sixteen percent of all traffic fatalities in that year involved reports of distracted driving.
Much research has been targeted to studying teenagers and the epidemic of distracted driving because teens tend to use their cell phones more frequently. Younger drivers, particularly those under the age of 24 are much more likely to text while driving than older drivers, and many have reported that they do not think their driving performance is affected when talking on the phone. Just over 60 percent of drivers aged 18 to 20 years report that talking on the phone does not affect their driving performance and nearly 20 percent report that sending an email or text while driving makes no difference on their driving.
Over the last several years, many organizations have put forth tremendous efforts to raise awareness of the dangers associated with distracted driving as well as educational initiatives to improve the safety of both adult and teenage drivers. Due to the growing reality that driving while distracted by a cell phone or any other activity that diverts an individual’s attention away from the task of driving is extremely dangerous, state laws have been enacted that ban using hand-held devices while driving. In addition, many states have also forbid texting while driving. Police enforcement of these laws has increased in recent years with the hope of reducing the unsafe behaviors and the punishments for the breaking the laws have also become more severe. Another program that has been developed is the graduated driver licensing system for teen drivers. This is aimed at keeping our young drivers from engaging in the distracted driving behaviors. Unfortunately, despite these efforts, many people continue to choose to use hand-held devices while driving causing preventable automobile accidents.
The Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at Galfand Berger encourage all drivers to consider the risks associated with engaging in specific activities while operating a vehicle. It is important to be aware of the dangers of distracted driving and the potential legal ramifications for those that continue to choose to engage in it.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a Pennsylvania or New Jersey automobile accident as a result of another driver’s negligence or distracted driving, we urge you to call the personal injury lawyers at Galfand Berger. Our Philadelphia motor vehicle accident attorneys have extensive experience in representing and advocating for victims involved in all types of automobile accident cases throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We have established a proven track record of consistently achieving exceptional results for our clients. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia, Reading and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. We offer free and confidential consultations to auto accident victims throughout Southeast Pennsylvania, including Harrisburg, Allentown, Montgomery County, Delaware County, Bucks County, Berks County and Chester County, as well as the South Jersey communities of Burlington County, Camden County, Mercer County, Salem County, Atlantic County, Gloucester County and Cumberland County.
Call Galfand Berger today to schedule an appointment with one of our personal injury lawyers at 1-800-222-USWA (8792) or submit a free online inquiry.