Many people could be spared painful injury and potential death were it not for automotive negligence on the highways and surface streets. Every week in and around cities like Rockville, Gaithersburg, Frederick and Washington, D.C., occupants of passenger cars and city buses, pedestrians crossing urban streets, and motorcyclists are hurt or killed as a result of another person’s inattention.
As Baltimore personal injury attorneys, I and my staff have seen the results of traffic accidents caused by distracted driving. It makes little difference to the victim of an automobile or commercial trucking accident whether the individual who caused the accident was drunk, under the influence of prescription drugs, eating a hamburger, or texting a friend on their cellphone; the injuries are the same and the recovery typically slow and many times painful.
For those lucky enough to survive a high-speed collision, rarely do they walk away without a scratch. Usually, some kind of bodily harm occurs following a roadway collision, such as broken bones, cuts and bruises, and spinal injuries. Of course, not every accident is the result of inattention, but the large number that are could perhaps be reduced if drivers took a moment to consider their actions behind the wheel.
Recovering medical and rehabilitation expenses following a bad auto wreck can be difficult, which is why it’s always advisable to consult with a qualified personal injury lawyer. These days, many people have a hard enough time making ends meet, much less pay for a hospital stay that resulted from a car crash caused by a negligent party. Getting one’s medical bills covered is a priority for families whose earnings are already stretched to the limit.
Because of the seriousness of many traffic collisions, it’s important to remember that almost a quarter of all car accidents result from some kind of distraction that took the drivers attention from the road. Based on a nationwide study released earlier this year by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), nearly 25 percent of motor vehicle collisions happen due to some type of distracted driving — this includes drivers manipulating a cellphone and other handheld electronic devices.
The report from the GHSA also revealed a number of other pieces of information regarding the correlation between distracted driving and auto accidents. Understanding that distracted driving is a well-known problem, as well as very dangerous, it’s amazing to learn that some motorists are distracted as often as 50 percent of the time they are behind the wheel of a car.
The study listed texting while driving as one of the more dangerous activities for drivers to engage in; more dangerous, in fact, than simple talking on a cellphone. At the same time, the GHSA study states that a percentage of drivers don’t even realize that distracted driving can impair a person’s ability to drive safely.
Still, there remains a number of other distractions that can pull a drivers attention away from the task at hand; these include having a conversation with other vehicle occupants, looking for CDs or other small items while the vehicle is in motion, adjusting the radio, eating or drinking, reading directions or studying a map. And, hard as it may be to imagine, some drivers actually attempt to read books or newspapers while operating a car or truck, not to mention shaving or applying makeup.
The bottom line is: Save all that other stuff for when the vehicle is parked and give the roadway and other vehicles 100 percent of your attention. You may save a life, if only your own.
Distracted Driving, US Department of Motor Vehicles
Cell Phone and Texting Laws, Governors Highway Safety Association