Deaths due to car accidents happen every day, with California having the highest annual car accident fatality rate in the U.S. alone. The state saw a three percent increase in crash-related deaths within the first half of 2018 and reported a total of 1,538 casualties from traffic accidents and collisions for that period. It also recorded an average death of 48 victims per 100,000 of its entire population for the same year.
The statistics above reflect how car accidents have become prevalent in the state and how drivers should be more wary of the dangers on the road. They must also exercise caution so they can avoid any mishaps while driving. Negligent, distracted, and drunk driving often result in fatal accidents, which is why drivers must follow traffic rules more diligently to prevent these unfortunate incidents from happening.
But what exactly is the leading cause of car accidents in California? Local Highway Patrol cites distracted driving as the top reason for these incidents. Let’s take a closer look at what distracted driving means and how it can lead to a fatal crash.
Distracted Driving: The Top Cause of California Traffic Accidents
Using your cellphone or entertainment system, chatting with passengers, as well as eating and drinking while driving, can all be considered as distracted driving. These activities divert your attention while driving, causing you to lose focus of the road. Being distracted while driving increases the risk of colliding with other vehicles, people, or public property.
The U.S. has seen many car accident casualties due to distracted drivers throughout the years. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 3,166 fatalities were recorded all over the country in 2017 alone. It also found that distracted driving kills an average of nine people as well as injuring more than 1,000 persons every day.
However, complete figures for accidents, injuries, and wrongful deaths due to distracted driving remain under-reported. This stems from the fact that local highway units cannot effectively determine whether or not distracted drivers caused certain accidents.
What Usually Happens When a Driver Gets Distracted?
Distracted drivers might face some repercussions for their actions, which include legal disputes. These consequences include the following:
Potential injuries or deaths
Distracted drivers have higher chances of getting into fatal car accidents and other road-related mishaps such as pedestrian injuries and property damage compared to defensive drivers. They put them and other people at risk for injuries or even death. It is also important to note that a severe injury or casualty may result in graver repercussions for the negligent party.
Several U.S. states have specifically outlawed distracted driving. For instance, drivers should not use their cellphones while driving in some states. There are also specific clauses that allow drivers to use hands-free phones in their cars. In other states, however, texting while driving is completely illegal. These particular areas require offenders to pay fines for this specific offense.
Distracted drivers are also not safe from penalties if they committed other road violations in their home states. These violations include crossing the centerline, beating the red light, and going over the speed limit to name a few.
An increase in Insurance Premiums
A distracted driver may see high insurance premiums if they commit any traffic violations. Excessive points and court summons for these violations can contribute to an increased premium from the driver’s insurance company.
A Suspended or Revoked License
State authorities may also choose to suspend or revoke the driver’s license of the accused if he or she continues to receive additional points for distracted driving along with other violations.
Possible Factors for Filing a Lawsuit Due to Distracted Driving
Plaintiffs may file personal injury lawsuits against distracted drivers depending on particular factors. The use of cellphones while driving is one possible factor to consider for a distracted driving suit. Local police can determine whether or not the driver used their cellphone while driving by looking at their phone records. However, plaintiffs can only use these records as evidence in their claims if the negligent party was proven to be using their phone at the time of the accident.
Local authorities can also look at the driver’s previous tickets and traffic footage to prove the latter’s negligence. If the distracted driver sustained injuries from a car crash that was caused by another driver, it could also serve as the basis for a personal injury lawsuit. The driver might not receive full compensation if the court deems their cell phone use while driving as a contributing factor in the accident.
It is also worth noting that having substantial proof in a personal injury claim against a distracted driver can help prove their negligence. This applies even without a definite law covering their actions when the accident took place.
Get Legal Advice from an Expert Car Accident Attorney
Texting while driving poses a high risk of road accidents and has injured or claimed the lives of more than 500,000 people in the U.S. each year. These statistics serve as a reminder of the harsh reality drivers and pedestrians face every day. A simple distraction may result in a deadly motor vehicle collision, which can leave people injured or killed.
If you or your loved one have been involved in a car accident due to distracted driving, hiring a competent lawyer can help you build your case against the negligent party and acquire your rightful compensation. Filing your car accident claim without proper legal guidance is ill-advised as you will be faced by seasoned defense lawyers and insurance adjusters who will challenge your claim. To ensure that you will receive the best compensation for your injuries and other losses, turn to Mesriani Law Group’s car accident attorneys for expert advice today.