Distracted driving isn’t a new problem. Since the invention of the automobile, drivers have found all kinds of ways to take their attention off the road. However, with modern technology, drivers are losing focus in more ways than ever before.
Driving errors account for numerous accidents on the roads each day in Las Vegas. Mistakes are more likely to happen when drivers are distracted. If you’re hurt because someone else drives distracted, it’s important to speak with a car accident attorney to determine if you have a claim for compensation under Nevada law.
Why Is Distracted Driving So Dangerous?
Distracted driving is extremely hazardous because people aren’t great at multi-tasking. A driver can focus on their phone or their speed but not both. A driver can browse the web, but they can’t efficiently scan for unusual circumstances on the road at the same time.
When a person isn’t paying enough attention to their driving, their reaction time slows down. They’re not able to take defensive action when they’re cut off by another driver or when a foreign object enters the roadway. Even a split second can make a big difference when it comes to preventing an accident or even trying to reduce the severity of a crash. Taking your eyes and mind off the road can cause you to lose valuable time to respond to a problem on the road.
Examples of Distracted Driving
Drivers have plenty of excuses for failing to give driving their complete attention. Here are just some of the ways that people drive distracted in Las Vegas:
- Using a phone
- Playing games on a phone
- Checking emails
- Snapping a photo
- Fiddling with the radio
- Reaching for something on the floor
- Eating or drinking
- Watching videos
- Browsing the web
- Adjusting the mirrors
Distracted Driving Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving plays a role in 10 percent of fatal accidents. 18 percent of personal injury accidents have distracted driving as a cause or a contributing factor. Driving while distracted may cause an accident, or it may make an accident worse.
In 2014, distracted driving contributed to the deaths of 3,179 people on the roads. 520 of these victims were not occupants of either vehicle. Another 431,000 people suffered injuries because of distracted driving.
Texting and Driving
One common type of distracted driving is texting while driving. Nevada law 484B.165 bans texting while driving. The law prohibits a wide variety of behaviors related to phone use. A driver may not:
- Type on a phone
- Enter text into a phone using a texting app
- Send data using the internet or other web connection
- Read data using the internet or other web connection
- Instant message with or without using text
- Use a phone if it’s not hands-free
It’s okay to talk on the phone if you have a hands-free system. You can turn the phone on and off to access hands-free calling. Any other kind of cell phone use while driving is illegal under Nevada law.
Distracted driving can amount to reckless driving under Nevada law. Reckless driving is driving with willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others. If a person’s distracted driving is intentional, law enforcement may seek to charge the driver with this criminal offense.
Usually, law enforcement considers criminal charges of this nature only when serious injuries occur in a crash. Reckless driving is a violation of Nevada law 484B.653. A reckless driving conviction is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine.
Distracted Driving Is Negligence
Distracted driving is one example of negligence under Nevada injury law. Negligence is a grounds for legal liability in an accident. If the other side causes the crash by acting negligently, they may owe you compensation for your damages.
Negligence occurs any time a person isn’t as careful as an ordinary person should be in the same situation. For example, when a person chooses to drive distracted by texting and their driving causes a crash, you may have a valid legal claim. You may recover for a wide range of damages including both economic damages like medical bills and non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
The Traffic Ticket May Not Be the Final Answer
If you’re in a traffic crash, law enforcement usually responds and conducts an investigation. When the officer completes their inquiry, they may issue a traffic ticket to one or both parties.
The ticket isn’t necessarily the answer to the question of whether one of the parties drove distracted or even acted negligently. A driver may not volunteer that they were distracted at the time of the crash. It may be up to you to do some more investigating.
How Do I Prove My Case?
When you have a negligence case based on distracted driving, it’s vital to carefully build your case to prove the true circumstances at the time of the crash. Speaking with the drivers and other witnesses are two important ways to build your case. Here are other things that you can do to harness Nevada’s Rules of Civil Procedure to gather evidence:
- Perform forensic tests on the phone
- Look for traffic cameras nearby
- Carefully analyze the crash scene to look for evidence of braking or other evasive action
- Review the car’s data recorders
How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help Me?
If you’ve suffered an injury in a traffic crash, it’s important to contact qualified accident attorney, Adam S. Kutner, to help you determine if distracted driving may be to blame. Your attorney can handle conducting interviews with witnesses and will challenge testimony that may be conflicting or dishonest.
Your attorney can gather crucial pieces of information, like police reports and videos to build your case. They can even use the legal process to demand inspection of a phone if it’s necessary to prove your case. Your lawyer will help ensure you get the compensation you need to recover and get on with your life.