Distracted driving is a dangerous and deadly practice

by Mandy Hicks

 We live in an increasingly fast-paced society in which people take on multiple activities at once to get more things done. The level of risk that accompanies this habit varies according to the tasks at hand. For instance, if a person decides to drink coffee while reading a book, the worst thing that will probably happen is that the book will get ruined by spilled coffee. But in distracted driving cases, the level of risk goes up substantially.

When a driver attempts to do another task, such as sending a text message, changing music, or applying makeup, the risk of a serious injury or death is high.

Our firm has seen multiple accidents in which people were seriously injured or even died due to distracted drivers. In an Atlanta case that’s gotten national attention, a teenage driver was using SnapChat while driving and became involved in an accident in which a man was left with traumatic brain injuries. Part of the evidence in the case is a SnapChat screen shot that indicates the teen was driving more than 100 miles per hour. You can read about this case in an article on the TechCrunch news web site.

If you’re not familiar with it, SnapChat is a social media application for smart phones that allows users to record video or photos and add more information, drawings and writing over the photos. One of the ways to use SnapChat is to add a filter over the photo that shows more information about where the photo was taken. One option is a filter that shows speed. While that’s fine to use if you’re a passenger, and kinda fun to use if you’re traveling 400 miles per hour on an airplane, it’s a terrible idea to use this feature while driving. We feel like this should go without saying – but obviously, some need to hear it.

Distracted Driving is a Growing National Problem

Nationally, the problem of distracted driving has reached the level of an “epidemic,” according to a government website. In 2014 alone, more than 430,000 people were hurt in crashes caused by distracted driving, and about 3,100 people were killed in such accidents. Distractions causing these accidents and deaths typically include texting, using a cell phone, eating, talking to passengers, reading a map, using a navigational system, watching a video, or adjusting the radio.

A lot can happen in the five seconds or so that it takes to read a text message. Given that this is equivalent to driving the length of a football field with one’s eyes closed, it is no surprise that about one in 10 teenage accident fatalities are now caused by distracted driving.

Of course, it isn’t only teenagers who can be distracted on the road. About 80% of drivers owned a smartphone in 2014, and that number is steadily growing. Even distracted walking can be a problem, with about half of adult cell phone users reporting that they have been involved in a distracted walking encounter.

National Crisis, Local Impact

It is one thing to think about a problem such as distracted driving in the abstract, knowing it has tragic consequences but believing that it is a “far away” issue with no local impact. It is quite another to have such an accident affect the community directly.

Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened earlier this week. According to local media reports, two people were killed when a dump truck driver rear-ended a vehicle on the Natcher Parkway, causing an override accident and pushing the car into the guardrail. According to the reports, the driver told police “he got distracted” and did not see the vehicle. The report did not indicate which form of distraction the driver meant.

Experienced Attorneys Assisting Motor Vehicle Accident Victims

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident that you believe may have been caused by distracted driving, you should talk to an attorney about your legal rights, including the right to file a lawsuit seeking monetary compensation. The knowledgeable Kentucky car crash and truck accident lawyers at English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley are here to help. Call us at 270-781-6500 to schedule a free consultation. We accept cases arising in both Kentucky and Tennessee, including Bowling Green, Clarksville, and Franklin.

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