Have You Been Injured By A Distracted Driver?
Constant visual and mental focus is required of every driver — every time — for road safety. Wisconsin distracted driving law takes this into account, prohibiting anyone behind the wheel from being engaged in or occupied by activity that “interferes or reasonably appears to interfere with the person’s ability to safely drive the vehicle.” The first part of the statute is broad, and causation often remains an issue when car accident attorneys make a damage claim. The law also delves into specifics for cell phone use, electronic messaging, GPS devices and special rules for teen drivers and commercial motorists.
Drivers who fail to be attentive fail to use reasonable care, which is a key piece of proving negligence. If the car accident lawyers at Lein Law Offices in Hayward can show the other driver’s diverted attention was causal in the crash, it may help you win your case and fight back against assertions of comparative (shared) fault or other insurance defenses.
Many argue the state’s distracted driving laws don’t go far enough. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) reports distracted driving crashes, injuries and deaths are on the rise, accounting for one in five crashes in the state. In Wisconsin, that amounts to roughly 25,000 each year — or one every 22 minutes.
When Wisconsin’s distracted driving statute first passed in 2009, the fine for a first-time offense was just $20. Heeding the call of traffic safety activists, legislators expanded state inattentive driving laws, citing technological advancements in smartphones, which had evolved tremendously in less than a decade. Drivers were no longer just texting; they were using Facebook, tweeting and using Snapchat. So even amid tougher laws and improved vehicle safety features, distracted driving is still a serious and growing problem.
Types Of Distracted Driving Collisions
We are just now beginning to understand how the brain processes simultaneous tasks, and the consensus, so far, is not well. One study published in the journal Brain Research analyzed the brain function of drivers who were asked to simultaneously listen to sentences and judge them true or false. Unsurprisingly, the brain capacity and function of those drivers didn’t suddenly expand. Instead, their spatial processing while driving dropped 37 percent.
Some people pride themselves on being multitaskers, but the reality is, only about 2.5 percent of the population can be considered so-called “supertaskers.” It’s sort of a genetic gift, not something learned or practiced, and chances are, you don’t have it.
The most common causes of distracted driving that have been known to lead to auto accidents include:
- Talking on the phone
- Talking to/looking at passengers
- Reading maps/adjusting GPS
- Watching a video
- Adjusting a radio, music or phone player
Driving Requires Full Focus
While many of us might think driving is pretty much a cognitively automated process, the reality is, carrying on any other cognitive, visual or tactile function is going to degrade your driving performance. Texting is probably the worst example because it involves all three — cognitive, visual and tactile — functions.
But we can’t assume hands-free technology is any safer. A typical distraction that requires a driver to take their attention off the road for just five seconds will have caused them to miss an entire football field’s worth of roadway.
Distraction is a leading cause of car accidents in Wisconsin and across the U.S.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in a single recent year, nearly 3,500 were killed in distracted driver car accidents nationally. Another nearly 400,000 were injured. Although under-20 drivers were at highest risk (4 in 10 high schoolers admitted to driving while emailing or texting in the last month), the truth is distraction can be just as serious a problem for soccer moms, corporate executives and truck drivers.
Ready To Help When You Are Injured By A Distracted Driver
Our car accident injury attorneys are committed to helping those affected by distracted drivers get their lives back in order by helping them regain their financial footing and holding distracted drivers and insurance companies responsible for the resulting damages.