The increasingly ubiquitous nature of cell phones, especially cell phones with advanced capabilities such as video chat or other distracting applications, has had a dangerous effect of America’s roads. Statistics on growth of accident fatalities due to cell phone use in past years have shown that the misuse of cell phones by drivers and passengers has led to a growing number of distracted driver caused accidents, many of which have resulted in one or more fatalities.
The Causes of Cell Phone Related Accidents
Many drivers fail to understand the danger of allowing themselves to become distracted by cell phone conversations while driving. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has determined that conversations with passengers in the car are actually less risky than talking or operating a mobile phone. Many cell phone based accidents occur for the following reasons:
• Becoming distracted by a conversation while driving.
• Diverting attention from driving to dialing a number into a cell phone.
• Texting while driving has been shown to be extremely dangerous.
• Many phones allow the use of social or entertainment based apps, which can easily distract the driver.
In many cases, a driver may be engaged in more than one risky activity at the same time, such as speaking on a phone while also sending or reading a text message. This is especially common among younger drivers, who are already at a greater risk of being involved in a severe traffic accident.
The Increasing Number of Phone Related Fatality Accidents
Currently, the number of fatalities due to cell phone misuse remains unclear as not all agencies report whether or not driver cell phone use was a contributing factor to the accident. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) noted that in 2004 there were 4,978 fatalities that could be ascribed to distracted drivers. By 2008, this number had increased to 5,870 or about 16 percent of all vehicular fatalities for that year. In addition, a very large number of individuals suffered serious injuries due to being involved in a distracted driver caused accident. It is important to note that these statistics do not reflect all distracted drivers, just those who were listed as such by the responding agency.
The Legal Importance of Identifying Distracted Drivers
A driver is responsible for the safe operation of his or her vehicle. The statistics on growth of accident fatalities due to cell phone use in past years demonstrates that many drivers are failing to engage in safe driving practices, and are thus at fault for any accident that results from their actions. By identifying a driver who caused an accident due to his or her irresponsible cell phone use, the victim’s family can secure the legal assistance they need to obtain effective compensation for their loss. When representing the victims, a lawyer will carry out the following actions:
• Obtain any phone or texting records to demonstrate that the driver was operating the cell phone at the time of the accident.
• Demonstrate the dangers of distracted driving to the court.
• Use the fact that the driver was at fault to effectively negotiate with the driver’s insurance companies or legal representation.
Ultimately, statistics on growth of accident fatalities due to cell phone use in past years make it plain that the victims of these irresponsible drivers must secure effective legal assistance. By contacting the law offices of Eric J. Hertz, P.C., individuals who have suffered the loss of a loved one can obtain the compensation that they deserve.