Distracted Driving Crash Seriously Injures Two
Although a woman insisted that she only “momentarily” looked at her cell phone, that was enough time for her car to drift over the center line and cause a vehicle wreck.
The crash happened in Graves County, near the intersection of State Route 464 and Willie Trail. According to sheriff’s deputies, the 22 year-old driver, used her cell phone as she was eastbound on 464. While she was distracted, her vehicle crossed over to the westbound side, where it collided with the 56-year-old other driver. Both parties were airlifted to an Evansville hospital with serious injuries.
Doctors expect both vehicle wreck victims to survive.
Cell Phones and Distracted Driving
Most people agree that using a cell phone while driving greatly increases the chances of a vehicle wreck, and more information on this subject is always being developed. According to the latest research, drivers who are distracted spend more than half their time attending to non-driving functions. Furthermore:
- Distracted driving is a factor in about 16 percent of fatal wrecks, a figure that’s far higher than researchers initially thought,
- One teen driver in every four is dangerously distracted, mostly by a cell phone or by talking with passengers, and
- Even after drivers put down their devices, there is a latency effect, so they are still distracted for another twenty-seven seconds.
Conventional wisdom holds that hands-free devices are much safer than hand-held cell phones. But that is probably not the case, because hands-free devices still involve visual distraction (because drivers take their eyes off the road) and mental distraction (since drivers think about something other than driving). Perhaps even worse, hands-free devices may give drivers a false sense of security, so they are apt to take more chances.
Vehicle Wreck Liability Issues
Negligence is essentially a lack of ordinary care. In the vehicle wreck context, drivers have a duty to watch the road, hold onto the steering wheel, and concentrate on driving. Any activity that affects any of these three areas, including talking to passengers, adjusting the air conditioner, or eating while driving, is technically distracted driving. It is up to a jury to draw the line between acceptable conduct and a breach of duty.
For example, a driver who is engaged in a heated argument with a passenger is different from a driver who rolls down the window, even though they are both distracted.
Kentucky also has a rather confusing cell phone law, raising the possibility of negligence per se (negligence as a matter of law) in distracted driving vehicle wrecks. K.R.S. 189.292 plainly forbids sending or viewing a text-based message and plainly exempts using a GPS navigator. More than likely, the statute applies to viewing a web page or a social media post as well, because these activities are not exempted and, at least arguably, are a form of text-based communication. In any event, in negligence per se cases, the jury decides what conduct violates the law.
If a driver violated a safety law and that violation substantially cused the vehicle wreck, that driver is liable for economic and noneconomic damages, in most cases.
Distracted drivers often cause serious vehicle wrecks. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Glasgow, contact Attorney Gary S. Logsdon. A lawyer can see that victims obtain ongoing medical care, even if they have no insurance.