Cell Phone and Texting Accidents
Time and time again in the news we see distracted drivers using cell phones and texting. As a result, deadly car accidents happen. Numerous studies prove even use of hands free devices like speakerphones still cause drivers to be distracted from the roadway. While many researchers know this, for some reason, drivers still believe they can safely drive and use a cell phone.
As cell phones become an indispensable part of many people’s daily lives, and texting grows in popularity, awareness of the dangers of “phoning and driving” is rising. Not all distractions are dangerous, but anything that takes the driver’s eyes and attention off the road for more than a split second can cause an accident. When this happens, that driver is responsible for all the injuries and financial costs of the car crash, just as a drunk driver or other at-fault driver would be.
Because the vast majority of car accidents are caused by bad choices or inattention, safety experts believe distracted driving is responsible for many car crashes in Missouri and the United States. According to the federal Department of Transportation, police reported distractions as a cause of about 16 percent of fatal accidents and 20 percent of injury accidents in 2009, and appears to be a growing problem: Police reported distractions in 7 percent of fatal crashes in 2005, but 11 percent in 2009. Distractions named in police reports and collected by the DOT included:
- Another person in the car or truck
- A moving object inside the vehicle
- Something outside the vehicle, like a previous crash
- Reaching for or using an object inside the car
- Dialing, talking or listing on a cell phone
- Eating, drinking or smoking
- Personal grooming (makeup, shaving, etc.)
A growing number of distracted driving awareness campaigns focus on cell phones and other mobile devices. Many states, including Missouri, passed laws barring younger drivers from texting behind the wheel but statistics show that it is not just young people. The age group most likely to be involved in a fatal crash caused by a phone-related distraction was 30-39, according to federal statistics. Nor is the problem limited to texting. Research from the University of Utah found drivers talking on the phone in a driving simulator, using hand-held phones or a headset, performed just as poorly as drivers with 0.08 blood-alcohol levels.
Another serious but under appreciated driving distraction is sleepy driving or drowsy driving. Work and family pressures and late-night fun can put even well-meaning drivers at risk of literally falling asleep at the wheel. In a 2005 survey, 37 percent of drivers admitted having fallen asleep while driving and 13 percent admitted doing it once a month. This is likely a conservative estimate because drivers were reporting on their own behavior. Other studies indicate, not surprisingly, that a car wreck is more likely for people who work irregular schedules, parents of young children and people who sleep less than five hours a night.
Drivers resist efforts to make cell phones and other distractions illegal or limit their use in the car. When a distracted driver causes a serious auto accident, innocent people who just happened to be nearby can suffer death or permanent disability from brain damage, paralysis and more. If you or someone in your family has suffered this kind of accident because of someone’s carelessness, we can help.
Our accident attorneys represent clients throughout Missouri as well as Illinois. We have decades of experience helping clients recover the money they need to take care of themselves after a serious crash. When distracted drivers cause a serious accident, they cause injury or death, pain, emotional trauma, high medical bills and often a dip in income. Our lawyers help injured people pass those costs back to the people who caused them.
We offer free, confidential consultations with no further obligation to you, so you can tell us your story and learn more about your options. To set up a meeting, call us today at 314-400-0000 or send us an email.