Distracted drivers are often accidents waiting to happen

Distracted driving in any form can result in motor vehicle accidents and serious injury.

Driving requires a lot of thought and concentration. So when drivers try to add other activities, such as having a phone conversation, texting or eating, it becomes nearly impossible to drive safely. This increases the chance of a motor vehicle accident.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that every day, more than nine people are killed and 1,153 people are injured in the United States as a result of distracted driving accidents. Additionally, the National Safety Council estimated that one in four car accidents involve cell phone use. This includes when hands-free devices are used for phone conversations.

Distracting activities and types of distraction

There are a number of activities that are considered distracted driving. Some are more obvious like using a cell phone, texting, eating or applying makeup. Some are not as obvious, such as using GPS navigation, conversations with passengers or changing the song on the car stereo.

The ways a motorist can be distracted can also vary, and fall into three categories:

  • Visual - taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual - removing your hands from the steering wheel
  • Cognitive - being mentally distracted from driving

Any of these alone can be risky, but in combination they endanger the driver, passengers and others on the road. Texting while driving, for example, is a combination of all three distraction types.

Accidents will happen

When a motorist does not give driving his or her full attention, accidents can happen in a split second. Distracted drivers can rear end another car, drift into other lanes, cross the line into oncoming traffic or hit motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians.

Unlike drinking and driving, there is no test to determine if distracted driving was responsible for an accident. And it isn't surprising that drivers are often unwilling to admit they were distracted.

What to do if you have been injured

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries caused by a distracted driver accident, you are entitled to file a claim against liable parties in civil court. A personal injury claim will entitle you to financial compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

An important part of your lawsuit will be establishing the fault of the negligent driver. Unlike drunk driving, there is no test to prove someone was distracted, so establishing fault can be difficult. In these circumstances, it is in your best interest to secure experienced legal representation. A skilled personal injury attorney can secure evidence and call upon experts to strengthen your claim against the distracted motorist.