Unfortunately, automobile accidents are extremely common. They are caused by a variety of factors, such as speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, reckless driving, weather, inexperienced drivers, fatigued drivers, and many more. However, none of these are the most common cause of car accidents. The most common reason for car accidents is distracted driving. Defined broadly as engaging in any behavior that diverts a driver from the task of driving, distracted driving is the most serious and common hazards on the road today. Despite the fact that it’s so common, it can be difficult to prove that the at-fault driver was distracted when an accident occurred.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving occurs when a driver engages in any activity that takes his or her attention away from the task of driving. Commonly, when people talk about distracted driving, they are referring to the use of a cellphone by a driver to talk or text. Increasingly, it’s becoming common for people to use smartphones to play music, use a navigation app, or even play games while driving. Distracted driving is a serious problem because of how common it is and how dangerous it can be. Although millennials between the ages of 19 and 25 are the group most likely to drive distracted, virtually every age group on the roads has admitted to engaging in the behavior. Even 67 percent of drivers between age 60 and 74 admitted to driving dangerously, according to AAA.
Is Distracted Driving Illegal?
Recently, many states have introduced laws which specifically prohibit certain kinds of distracted driving. For example, talking, texting, or in any other way using cellphones while driving is specifically prohibited in many states. In Oregon, the law prohibiting these kinds of distracted driving was updated in 2017. According to this law, a person who causes an accident while distracted driving can experience a fine of up to $2,500. Other forms of distracted driving, on the other hand, are not specifically illegal. If a person is distracted in some other way while driving and they cause an accident, it may not necessarily be illegal.
How to Prove Distracted Driving Caused an Accident
There are several ways to demonstrate that the driver that caused an accident was engaging in distracted driving. Police reports filed after an accident detail the circumstances of the accident, including statements from both drivers and any witnesses who saw the accident take place. If you’ve been in an accident with a driver who was talking on their phone, for example, make sure you let the officer filing the report know. Occasionally, the other driver will admit to driving distracted. If this is the case, make sure to get it in the police report and keep track of any witnesses who hear the admission. In many cases, witnesses to the accident are your best resource for proving your case. Occasionally, witnesses may have even captured the accident on their cellphones. If so, ask that these videos or pictures are provided to the police or your attorney. Finally, cell phone records can be used in court to prove that a driver was texting at the time of the accident.
Contact an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney
If you have been involved in an auto accident with someone who was driving distracted, you should not hesitate to contact the experienced auto accident attorneys at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield right away. We can answer any questions you may have during a free consultation and, if necessary, represent your case in court. With over 70 collective years of legal and trial experience, we’re well-suited to assist you with any needs or questions you may have.