Distracted driving, in one form or another, is the leading cause of accidents on U.S. roads. Today, with cellphones and infotainment systems, there are more ways for drivers to take their eyes off the road than ever before. When they do, it significantly reduces their reaction time and makes accidents far more likely. But what is distracted driving? Essentially, it is any action in a vehicle that takes the driver’s attention away from the road. When they injure or kill someone else or cause significant property damage, they can be held liable under Alabama’s tort and negligence laws. A distracted driver accident lawyer can help.
What is Distracted Driving?
The most common form of distracted driving involves cellphones. Cellphone use (excluding Bluetooth-paired devices) causes a driver to give up one of their hands from the wheel and split their attention between their conversation and the road. Texting is even worse since both eyes and attention are taking off the road. But cellphones aren’t the only cause of distracted driving. Other possibilities include:
- Talking to passengers in the vehicle
- Eating, drinking, smoking, or vaping
- Fiddling with vehicle controls or the infotainment system
- Managing pets or children in the back seat
- Simply not paying attention to the road
Types of Distracted Driving
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes that there are three types of distracted driving. Those are:
- Manual – Distracted driving that takes your hands off the steering wheel.
- Visual – Distracted driving that takes your eyes off the road.
- Cognitive – Distracted driving that splits your attention between driving and something else.
There are a number of ways that a driver can be distracted and these three types of distraction aren’t mutually exclusive. For example, when someone is texting while driving they are guilty of committing all three types of distracted driving.
Distracted Driving is a Type of Negligence
When you file a claim against another driver’s insurance policy or a lawsuit against that driver, you must be able to prove that they were negligent and this negligence contributed to the accident.
Any driver who gets behind the wheel of a car, owes every other driver, pedestrian, and cyclist a duty of care to ensure that they are operating their vehicle safely. When they fail in that duty of care and someone else is injured, killed, or their property is damaged, they are responsible for making them whole monetarily.
Typically, negligence involves the violation of some traffic law. This is also true of certain types of distracted driving. Cellphone use, for instance, is prohibited and you can receive a ticket if you are caught operating a vehicle with a cellphone in your hand.
How Do You Prove Distracted Driving?
To file a successful claim or lawsuit against any driver, you must be able to prove negligence. For example, if a driver was operating their vehicle at an unsafe speed, you could use that fact to prove your case. Distracted driving is no different and there are several facts that an injured party can use to prove distracted driving.
- The driver failed to brake and left no skid marks on the road
- A phone was found on the seat, under the seat, or on the ground
- Food or drink was found spilled all over the driver’s lap
- They were active over messenger or social media at the time of the accident
- Witness statements corroborate your claim
The attorneys at Petro Law Firm work closely with accident investigators and local authorities to determine the ultimate cause of your accident and aggressively pursue your right to be fully compensated for your injuries and property damage.
Alabama Law and Distracted Driving Accidents
Alabama law makes it illegal to operate a vehicle without the full use of both of your hands. It also imposes a duty of care on every driver to operate their vehicle safely and with their attention fully on the road. When they fail that duty of care, an injured party has two years to file a lawsuit or a claim against the negligent driver. After that two-year window, you will no longer be able to file suit.
Talk to an Alabama Traffic Accident Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured by a negligent driver whose attention wasn’t fully on the road, the distracted driving accident lawyers at Petro Law Firm can help you build your case and recover significant damages that can be used toward your medical expenses, lost time from work, and reduced quality of life. Call us today for a free consultation.