Driver Distraction in Arizona

Scottsdale Car Accident Lawyer

Anytime the driver of a motor vehicle fails to pay attention to what he or she is doing, everyone else on the roadway nearby is in mortal danger. Paying close attention while operating a "deadly weapon" that weighs 2 or 3 tons and traveling at high speeds is absolutely mandatory, not "optional." Each and every driver must exercise such care and be fully focused on the important task of driving. Once a driver lets his attention drift and gives in to distraction, he opens the door to potential disaster.

There are three basic types of distraction:

  1. Cognitive: taking your mind away from the road;
  2. Visual: taking your eyes away from the road; and
  3. Manual: taking your hands off the steering wheel.

As you might guess, many of the most common distractions involve some combination of two or more of the above types. Sending a text message while driving is a perfect example of being distracted in all 3 categories. It involves mental concentration, viewing the cell phone screen, and manually inputting the message. Depending on the length of the text message and the vehicle's path and speed during the drafting and sending of the actual message, the vehicle might easily have drifted back and forth within or without its proper lane of travel, or much worse.

What constitutes distracted driving?

Drivers who insist on reading and sending cell phone messages and talking on those phones while behind the wheel have proven to be the cause of some of the most serious injury accidents; but cell phones are far from the only culprits: food and beverages, changing radio stations or CD track, reading or programming a GPS, and countless other common examples can all cause horrific accidents. Drivers engaged in conversations with their passengers, and drivers who are tired, worried or upset about events in their lives may put other drivers at great risk of injury.

The Top 5 Distractions That Cause Accidents:

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), here are the top 5 accident-causing driving distractions:

  • Using a cell phone
  • Putting on makeup
  • Reading (GPS, newspaper, map, etc.)
  • Looking at a scene or item outside of the car instead of the road
  • Trying to reach for a moving item in the car

The statistics on distracted driver accidents are shockingly high. NHTSA has reported that in recent years, 16% of all fatal crashes were the result of distracted driving. The age group having the highest proportion of fatal distraction-caused fatalities was the age 16 – 20 group in which 21% of all injury accidents were the result of distracted driving. But it seems almost everybody is either guilty of or at risk of being distracted by cell phones. 81% of all licensed drivers have used their mobile phones while driving; 85% report their phone is activated while they are driving; and 64% report they "always or usually" answer incoming calls while driving.

What are the dangers of cell-phone use while driving?

While most people realize driving while using a cell-phone can be dangerous, they often disregard that realization and continue to talk and text, perhaps believing and hoping their actions will not adversely affect anyone else. Yet, research has shown that using a cell-phone impairs a driver almost as much as driving while drunk. To make matters worse, drivers who talk on the phone without a hands-free device also have their hands off the wheel, making it harder to react to danger quickly.

Texting while driving distracts drivers by causing them to focus on a task that is much different – and much less important – than the task of driving a 4,000-pound steel missile. They must mentally focus on "conversation" they are having with someone not in the car, and then visually and manually generate a message to that person while looking away from the road. Even a short text message that takes only 5 seconds is enough time and distraction for a motor vehicle to travel "blind" the length of a football field (at 55mph). A lot can go wrong in 300 feet. The distracted driver may not realize the car ahead of him is decelerating, changing lanes, turning, etc. Studies have found that texting drivers are 23 times more likely to get into an accident than drivers who are not.

Injured by a distracted driver in Scottsdale?

If you have been the victim of a distracted driver and suffered serious injuries in a car crash, you need to take steps to ensure you are fully compensated for all the losses you have suffered. Generally speaking, if the crash was not your fault, then financial restitution for your physical and emotional injuries, as well as your medical bills and lost wages, can be sought from the at-fault driver.

With over 40 years of trial experience, Clark Watkin is not only knowledgeable regarding how the legal system operates, but is adept at creating unique case strategies for each and every client. Personally working with you from start to finish, you will never feel abandoned or like "just another number" who is lost in the shuffle. The Watkin Law Office, PC understands the financial and emotional hardships associated with serious physical injuries from car accidents. Let us meet with you or speak by phone (but not while you are driving!) before it is too late. In Arizona, there is a "statute of limitations" which sets the deadlines for the filing of personal injury and wrongful death claims. Most such cases must be filed (as lawsuits) in court within a period of 2 years from the date of the incident. However, the statutes of limitation for some claims is much shorter, sometimes only 180 days, so it is critical that you consult with a qualified personal injury or wrongful death attorney about your claim as soon as possible. Fill out our free and confidential case evaluation here and let us work with you towards recovering the full and fair compensation you deserve. Call us at (480) 281-3838 today!