Texting While Driving May (Or May Not) Lead To Liability For Orlando Auto Accidents & Injuries
Distracted driving, including texting while driving, has gained the attention of many auto accident attorneys in Orlando, Florida, because this widespread problem has caused some of the most catastrophic injuries you could possibly imagine. Accidents caused by distracted driving are often similar in severity to those caused by drunk driving. Even worse, most people do not really believe distracted driving is dangerous. Plus, if there is evidence that the at-fault driver was texting while driving, then the case may have more value. But whether there is evidence to prove distracted driving is a completely different question.
What Happened During The Accident, Besides The Texting Or Other Distraction, Still Matters
Whether someone texting while driving caused an accident, so would be liable for any damages, depends on what happened during the accident. If someone was texting while driving, then he was breaching his duty of care to other drivers on the road. However, that breach must have actually caused the accident. Therefore, if the offender was rear-ended, proving the front driver shared any blame for the accident would still be a major challenge. In that type of case, the jury might be instructed that comparative negligence could be considered (that’s where the jury divides blame for the accident, on a percentage basis, between both drivers). Also, it is very possible that the insurance company might never even realize that the front driver had been texting, which would make the distracted driving a non-issue. They very well might never know, if the insurance company lawyer never asks during the injured person’s deposition (which is a statement taken under oath during any litigated auto accident case). Therefore, although texting while driving is illegal in Florida, there may, or may not, be any different car accident case value as a result.
Terrible Statistics Regarding Distracted Driving Accidents
Distracted driving is the leading cause of auto accidents in the U.S. Some studies estimate that 80 percent of automobile accidents are caused by driver distraction. (In an earlier post, I discussed some distracted driving auto accident case values.) Hundreds of thousands of people are injured and killed annually in auto accidents caused entirely by distracted driving. Distracted driving is really any form of activity, performed while driving, that takes the drivers attention away from the responsibility of driving safely.
Types Of Driver Distraction & How They Impact Proof
Distraction may occur on many levels, including visual (a driver taking their eyes off the road), manual (a driver taking their hands off the wheel), and cognitive (a driver not thinking about the job of driving, which is why even driving while using a bluetooth device is not safe). But the bottom line is the person was not fully focused on their job of driving safely. As far as evidence in lawsuits, different types of distraction may be harder, or easier, to prove.
There are lots of things that could distract a driver from driving. But certain activities are known culprits, leading to accidents caused by the person’s inattention. These include things like:
- Texting While Driving
- Sexting While Driving
- Watching Videos
- Watching Laptops
- Eating Or Drinking
- Grooming Oneself
- Reading Anything
- Changing A Radio Station, Or MP3 Device
- Dialing Or Viewing A SmartPhone
- Reaching To The Floor Or Backseat
- Talking On The Phone, Even When Using A Bluetooth
- Arguing With A Spouse
- Deep Conversation Or Even Thought
- Carrying Pets In One’s Lap
- Children Arguing
Few People Recognize The Dangers Of Texting & Driving
Many people are well aware of the dangers of texting while driving. But they still think that they can safely drive and text, despite the known risks. Also, many are not aware of the dangers of these other distracting activities. Plus, with so many people texting and using smartphones in all sorts of new ways, distracted driving has become a very widespread and dangerous problem. Texting while driving statistics are very alarming.
Texting Is Probably The Worst
Although there are many forms of distracted driving, many studies conclude that texting while driving is the most dangerous of the distractions. Texting creates a much higher risk of accidents, which is pretty scary considering there are hundreds of millions of texts sent in the U.S. each year. Texting is probably the worst because it causes all three forms of distraction (visual, manual, and cognitive). A commonly known fact is that texting drivers are not looking at the road for 4.6 second, which, driving at 55 mph, is the time needed to drive the distance of a football field. However, proving texting while driving may or may not be possible. Talking to an Orlando, Florida auto accident attorney ASAP is the best way to try to capture and preserve evidence related to texting while driving.
Cognitive Distractions Maybe More Difficult To Prove
Cognitive dangers aren’t quite as obvious, so are much more difficult to prove. But cognitive distractions basically cause inattention blindness, which means drivers do not comprehend or process information in their field of vision, even though they are looking at them. Put differently, the driver is not thinking about what he is seeing on the road. The best way to prove cognitive distraction, in my experience, is either witness testimony, or admissions from the at-fault driver himself.
If you were involved in an auto accident in Orlando, Florida involving texting and driving, and you are wondering which driver is legally to blame, please call or text our 24 hour attorney hotline right away. Additionally, after an accident, there are many things that should be done right away to make sure you get the most money possible from any auto accident case. So calling or texting is urgent.