Los Angeles Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer
Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous behaviors, leading to thousands of car accidents, injuries, and deaths each year. Sadly, due to the ubiquity of cell phones and handheld mobile devices and their use by drivers, distracted driving has actually increased in recent years.
At the law offices of El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers, our Los Angeles distracted driving accident lawyers are ready to help you prove the distraction of the driver who caused your accident and represent you in recovering a fair settlement. Call our law office today for your free consultation.
Types of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving refers to engaging in any type of behavior while operating a motor vehicle that turns one’s attention away from the act of driving. In the digital age, distracted driving often involves texting, emailing, using various phone applications, or talking on a phone while driving. However, mobile devices are not the only sources of distraction that take drivers’ attention. Other acts of distracted driving include:
- Putting on makeup;
- Talking to passengers;
- Attending to children or pets;
- Cracked or dirty windshields
- Driving at night;
- Using a map or GPS device;
- Changing the music or adjusting the volume;
- Looking out the window/rubbernecking; and
- Eating or drinking.
While distracted driving may not be illegal (the state of California only prohibits the use of a handheld device while driving), it is negligent.
Types of Distracted Driving
Texting While Driving
Texting while driving is incredibly dangerous. In California, it is unlawful for a motorist to use a handheld device while they are operating a vehicle. Unfortunately, despite the strong laws that have been enacted by state legislators, texting while driving still happens on a regular basis in Los Angeles. In a recent survey of national drivers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 35 percent of Americans admit that they text while operating a vehicle.
According to a study conducted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), experienced drivers develop something akin to a ‘sixth sense’. This sense helps drivers to anticipate safety hazards and avoid dangers. TTI found that texting while driving effectively turns off this ‘sixth sense’.
The dangers of texting and driving are not merely theoretical. Federal government data indicates that as many as 390,000 Americans are injured in texting and driving crashes each year — more than are injured in drunk driving wrecks. It is essential that all drivers put their phones away whenever they turn their vehicles on. Even the most pressing of text messages can wait until the car is safely parked.
Adjusting Built-In Systems
Changing the radio station, adjusting the climate control, and using other systems within the vehicle may seem like a fairly safe thing to do. Unfortunately, to do this, you have to take your eyes off the road. A serious accident can occur in those few short seconds. If there is a passenger in the vehicle with you, ask them to make those adjustments instead. Many vehicles also have controls on the steering wheel today, so use those if you have them.
Eating and Drinking
Many motorists have a snack during their commute, or they sip on a coffee as they make their way to work. Eating and drinking while on the road may not seem like risky behavior, but it can be. You may take your eyes off the road while you are eating and drinking and not even realize it. You may have to look down to unscrew a cap or tilt your head back to drink it. You may also take your hands off the wheel to open a food package or take your eyes off the road to make sure you are not spilling on yourself.
It is always advisable that you eat and drink before you get behind the wheel. If you are going on a long trip, stop to eat and drink so you can place your full attention on the road when you start driving again.
You do not only rely on your eyes while you are driving, you also rely on your hearing, even if you do not realize it. Using earbuds will block out the ambient sound around you. It may prevent you from hearing about approaching construction, an accident, and other obstacles. Many people use earbuds instead of texting while driving or holding their phones. Instead, though, use a speaker phone and voice commands so your hearing is not impaired.
Children and Pets
It may seem like an impossible task to control your children and pets while on the road, but it is can be done. Always use proper car seats when transporting children, and make sure they have plenty of snacks and activities to keep them entertained on long trips. Pets should only be transported in a vehicle using pet carriers. On long trips, make multiple stops so children and pets alike can stretch their legs and expend some energy.
Nighttime Driving Accidents
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), drivers in the U.S. only do about 25 percent of their driving during nighttime hours, but 50 percent or more traffic fatalities occur during those nighttime hours. Even when you know a road well and believe that the path you are driving is familiar, nighttime driving is more dangerous than daytime driving.
At night, even if you turn on your high-beam headlights, your visibility is only—at best—about 500 feet in front of you. With only your regular headlights, visibility is limited to approximately 250 feet. When visibility is limited, it is more difficult to react appropriately to a stopped vehicle on the road or another hazard that could lead to an accident. As we age, the NSC also emphasizes that we need more light in order to see clearly. To be sure, “a 50-year-old driver may need twice as much light to see as well as a 30-year-old.”
How Can I Reduce the Risk of a Car Accident at Night?
There are many steps you can take to avoid a nighttime car accident. The NSC recommends the following safety tips:
- Always make sure your headlights are clean;
- Dim your dashboard lights at night;
- Look away from any oncoming headlights;
- Wear anti-reflective glasses;
- Keep your windshield clean to avoid glare and streaking;
- Driver slower to account for limited visibility;
- Get an annual vision exam;
- Avoid distractions;
- Do not take prescription drugs that could make you drowsy;
- Get at least seven hours of sleep before driving;
- Avoid driving altogether if you have been awake for 16 hours or more;
- Take a rest break at least every two hours;
- If you get tired, pull over and take a brief nap;
- Try to plan drives for hours during which you are typically awake; and
- Never drink alcohol and drive.
Proving the Other Driver Was Negligent
If you have been harmed in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you will have to prove that the driver was distracted and that this distraction was the direct cause of your accident in order to receive compensation. Our Los Angeles car accident lawyers can help – we fully investigate our clients’ accidents in order to gather all relevant evidence and prove liability. In a distracted driver accident claim, types of evidence that we may collect and that may be useful in proving your claim include:
- Interviews with eyewitnesses;
- Photograph or video evidence;
- Driver cell phone logs;
- Police reports;
- Event data recorder information; and
- Drivers’ and passengers’ statements.
In addition to the above, we also work with accident reconstruction and other experts to determine the precise cause of an accident and prove liability.
Get Started Today
A distracted driver can cause thousands of dollars worth of harm in the form of medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain, suffering, emotional anguish, disability, and more. When a car accident caused by a distracted driver leaves you harmed, you deserve compensation for all of your losses.
In order to guarantee your right to compensation, it is critical that you act quickly. Not only may evidence be destroyed if too much time passes before its collection, but failure to act may also result in a breach of the statute of limitations. In California, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the cause of action.
Call Our Los Angeles Car Accident Attorneys Today
For your free, no-obligation consultation with our Los Angeles distracted driving accident attorneys, please call our law firm directly or send us a message telling us more about your case. We work on a contingency fee basis and are ready to start building your claim and working to maximize your settlement amount today. Please call 213-985-1120 today!
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