It’s No Longer Just Texting. When driving while texting first started to occur, the phones could only be used for talking and texting and even this created an increase in accidents with a distracted driver. Those early cell phones had other features like games and ringtones, but the ability to access or use those additional applications required more effort from the driver. It was primarily answering or making calls or texting while driving that caused the problem.
That changed with smartphones. Now, all those applications and more can be accessed just by touching the screen. So while the term “driving while texting” remains, it’s mostly used as a catch-all term that applies to distracted driving involving the smartphone. A driver can be guilty of “using social media while driving” or “taking photos while driving.”
Whatever the term, the device used to make calls also offers dozens of ways to distract a driver. And this has increased the odds you will be involved in an accident with a distracted driver.
A driver who takes their eyes off the road to look at their phone, that’s called a visual distraction. If they take their hand, or even both hands, off the steering wheel to operate the phone, that’s known as a manual distraction. If attention has shifted away from the multiple things one has to pay attention to while driving, that is a cognitive distraction.
Now all these driving distractions would exist without a smartphone. But we can all agree that the ping of a notification can often grab your attention. That is why we put notification sounds on certain items- text from work or important loved ones, email notifications, and notices from other media- stock prices, news, etc.
Fairly or unfairly, the smartphone has become the primary symbol associated with distracted driving, mostly because one smartphone can lead a single driver to experience visual, manual, and cognitive distractions at the same time. And because those three distraction types can happen to any driver, it becomes imperative for all drivers to be aware of not using their smartphones while driving.
Potential Consequences For You
We’re using the term “crashing” here to refer to all collisions involving your vehicle, from the gentle bump from the car behind you at the stoplight to the kind of violent crashes usually seen in action movies. Driving a motor vehicle can be very dangerous, requiring every driver to be paying attention to multiple things at one time and being able to react fast enough to avoid accidents. Anything that distracts from that focus, especially cell phones, can lead to someone hitting you. An accident with a distracted driver can result in minor damage to your car to even “totaling” your car.
If you suffer an accident while driving, you can experience minor or major injuries. Common injuries are back injuries, fractures and broken bones, internal injuries, disfiguring facial injuries and scarring, and even loss of limbs! Even worse you or a passenger could suffer a traumatic brain injury or a spinal cord injury that leaves you partially paralyzed or even a quadriplegic. The idea you could be so badly hurt because a driver was texting or checking a Twitter post, makes this seem worse and so avoidable.
Every U.S. state has different laws addressing this type of distracted driving. Some states even add additional charges if the officer discovers the driver who caused the accident had been texting while driving. There are ways in which an officer or even you may be able to determine if a driver was texting while driving such as the driver admitting they were texting as they offer their apology, witnesses who state the driver was texting or otherwise interacting with their smartphone, or even the officer witnessing the distracted driver personally. There may even be surveillance videos or photos. Cell phone records can be used in court cases. If a driver was using their phone while driving, phone records may be able to prove that the driver was texting, surfing the web, or on the phone at the time of the accident.
If you have been injured in a car accident with a distracted driver, contact the Capetillo Law Firm today. You need to hire a competent, qualified personal injury attorney, like Adam Capetillo, especially if distracted driving is the cause of the accident. We are here to help. Call today at (346) 249-5544.