Distracted Driving Accidents in Washington DC
Hit By a Distracted Driver in Washington DC?
As technology has afforded us the ability to stay connected through personal devices, distracted driving has become an issue of great concern. In fact, many organizations and law enforcement agencies have gone as far as calling distracted driving a national epidemic, and one that causes an overwhelming amount of needless harm.
Distracted driving refers to any activity or behavior that diverts a motorist’s attention away from the primary task of driving. There are many forms of distracted driving, the most common of which include:
- Using a cell phone / texting while driving
- Conversing with passengers in the car
- Looking at maps and GPS systems
- Personal grooming
- Drinking and eating
In 2010, the National Safety Council reported that approximately 28% of car accidents (1.4 million annually) occur because of cell phone use, and the number is expected to rise. Almost everyone who owns a cell phone will admit to using it while driving. Unfortunately, talking on a cell phone significantly interferes with your reaction time, and texting is even worse. The level of driver distraction brought on by cell phone use rivals that of drunk driving.
Studies show that nearly half of all drivers between ages 18 and 24 text while driving. Every year, 21% of fatal car accidents involving teenagers occur because of cell phone use, and this percentage is expected to grow by up to 4% every year.
The Dangers of Texting on the Road
While any form of distracted driving is inherently dangerous, few pose as extreme risks for harm as texting while driving. Texting distracts a drivers’ manual, cognitive, and visual attention, which increases a motorist’s crash risk by up to 23 times, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Texting forces you to remove your eyes from the road, remove one or both hands from the wheel, and turn your conscious attention to something other than driving. If you are traveling at 60 miles per hour, it only takes 2-4 seconds of inattention for a car accident to occur. These statistics become even more unsettling when you consider that almost half of all drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 have admitted to texting while driving.
Nationwide crash reports compiled by the NHTSA clearly exemplify these risks, with more than 3,000 reported deaths and nearly 400,000 injuries caused by distracted drivers in 2011 alone.
In response to such alarming statistics, Washington, DC has followed suit with many states throughout the nation by enacting a number of laws regarding distracted driving, including:
- Ban on using handheld devices for all drivers
- Ban on cell phone use for bus drivers and novice drivers
- Ban on texting for all drivers
As these bans are primary laws, law enforcement officers are able to ticket drivers for an offense without any other traffic violation taking place. In addition to being illegal, distracted driving is widely known to be dangerous and extremely negligent. As such, victims injured in crashes caused by distracted drivers can hold them liable.
How Cell Phones Affect Your Reaction Time
Researcher David Strayer performed a study on young adults who talk on their cell phones when driving. On average, his test subjects – all between 18 and 25 years old – needed 18% more time to respond to brake lights from the cars ahead of them. Additionally, they took longer to readjust their speed after initially slowing down.
The results were not affected by whether the cell phone was hands-free or hand-held. The main factor that affected each driver’s reaction time was divided attention. According to Strayer, cell phone use causes a 20-year-old driver to suffer from the same delayed reaction time of a 70-year-old driver.
Another study performed by Strayer and one of his colleagues found that drivers who talk on their cell phones are just as impaired as a driver who has a .08% BAC (blood alcohol content), which is the legal limit in most states.
Texting and Truck Accidents
Passenger car drivers are not the only ones endangering their fellow motorists with chronic texting. An analysis by the Transportation Institute of Virginia Tech reveals that truckers who text are 23 times more likely to be involved in a truck accident. The study was conducted with video cameras that were fitted to truck cabs, capturing the drivers’ faces in the brief six-second period leading up to an accident (or a near miss).
Looking away from the road for any length of time over two seconds is considered dangerous, but the cameras showed that truck drivers looked away for an average of 4.6 seconds whenever they sent a text message.
Let Us Help You Seek Justice & Fair Compensation
Much like drunk driving, texting while driving is a willful act that endangers other people’s lives. If a texting driver causes an accident, they can be held responsible. The financial, physical, and emotional losses that car accident victims face can have repercussions for the rest of their lives–all because a driver couldn’t wait to send a text.
At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., we fight relentlessly on behalf of victims who have been adversely affected by distracted drivers. If you or your loved one has been injured by a driver who you suspect was engaging in any form of distracted driving, allow our legal team to investigate all circumstances surrounding your accident, secure supporting evidence, and effectively create a customized plan that establishes negligence and liability.
As proven car accident attorneys with a solid record of success in Washington DC, our legal team has demonstrated, without a doubt, that we have what it takes to help our clients obtain justice and the maximum compensation possible. Contact Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. today to discuss your needs.