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San Diego Distracted Driving Accident Attorney

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Distracted driving is a significant danger to others on the road, now outstripping drunk driving as the leading cause of wrongdoing behind the wheel resulting in car accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,308 people died due to distracted driving accidents in the U.S. in 2022. Distracted driving accidents often result in serious or catastrophic injuries because a distracted driver doesn’t see the accident coming and makes no evasive efforts like swerving or braking to avoid a full-force collision.

How Dangerous Is Distracted Driving?

In 2021, 74% of California drivers surveyed stated distracted driving, or specifically texting and driving, as their biggest traffic accident concern. However, most people admit they believe they can safely read or respond to a quick text message while driving. In reality, reading an average text message requires taking your eyes off the road for about five seconds. At 55 miles per hour, a vehicle travels the length of a football field in the five seconds the driver’s eyes are not on the road.

Common Types of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving has always been a significant contributor to the overall number of traffic accidents, but since our population has become reliant upon cell phone use for communication, media, and GPS navigation, the number of distracted driving accidents has skyrocketed. Common types of distracted driving that results in accidents include the following:

  • Texting
  • Making phone calls
  • Selecting podcasts and playlists
  • Setting a GPS
  • Answering emails
  • Checking social media notifications
  • Watching videos
  • Recording videos

Not all distracted driving stems from cell phone usage. Distracted driving can be manual, visual, or cognitive. Non-cellphone distractions also cause car accidents including:

  • Eating while driving
  • Retrieving dropped items
  • Interacting with children in the backseat
  • Grooming or applying makeup
  • Reading
  • Adjusting a sound system or rear-view mirrors
  • Distracting behavior from a front-seat passenger
  • Daydreaming

Some distracted driving accidents are difficult to prove and require an experienced investigator to make a compelling case for an injury victim’s compensation. Distracted driving is negligence and leaves the at-fault driver liable for a victim’s damages like medical expenses, lost income, and compensation for pain and suffering.

What Types of Accidents Result from Distracted Driving?

When a driver isn’t paying careful attention to the road ahead they may fail to see an obstruction in the roadway, an approaching intersection, or a slowed or stopped driver ahead. Distractions also cause drivers to drift out of their lane. Common types of distracted driving accidents include the following:

  • Rear-end accidents
  • Head-on collisions
  • Sideswipes
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Failure to yield the right of way in an intersection
  • Pedestrian accidents

These types of accidents cause injuries to the distracted driver and to others involved in the accident such as motorists in a vehicle hit by a distracted driver.

Distracted Driving Laws in California

California has some of the country’s strictest laws against distracted driving, including a statewide ban on handheld cell phone use for all drivers. The state also bans the use of handheld and hands-free cellphone use for bus drivers, and drivers under 18, and prohibits texting and driving for all drivers. Despite these laws, 140 fatalities occurred due to distracted driving in California in 2021.

Do I Need an Attorney After a Distracted Driving Accident?

In fault-based car accident insurance states like California, the injury victim must prove the distracted driver’s liability for damages like property damage, medical expenses, and lost wages. This requires compiling evidence showing the following legal points of liability:

  • The distracted driver owed a duty of care to others on the road
  • They breached this duty by an act of negligence behind the wheel
  • Their breach of duty directly caused the accident and injuries
  • The injury victim suffered significant damages due to their injuries

It takes an experienced San Diego car accident attorney to find and document compelling evidence of liability and file a claim for compensation against the distracted driver.