Car Accident Due to Driver Distraction

Being charged with a traffic violation offense and slapped with a fine are already heavy penalties; these are not all, though, for there are still the demerit points that give drivers that added painful sting. Demerit points differ with the type and severity of the violation committed. While some violations are given 1 or 2 points demerit, others are given up to 6 points.

In some states, a total of 12 points demerit can result to suspension of driving privileges and higher car insurance premium. Attempting to elude an officer, DUI and reckless driving are violations that usually get the highest demerit points. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA), coincidentally, has also identified drunk-driving and reckless driving as among the major causes of injuries and death during car accidents; the rest are overspeeding, failure to wear a seatbelt and distracted driving. But just as it appears that the strict and consistent implementation of traffic laws directed against drunk drivers, reckless drivers and speedsters are finally earning favorable results, another violation is consistently making itself as the newest worst cause of driving accidents – cell phone use, whether texting or talking on a handheld or hands-free cell phone.

Cell phone use while behind the wheel is currently considered the worst and most dangerous kind of distracted driving and, on a daily basis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1,153 people are injured and 9 killed due to it. Due to the great risk cell phone use puts innocent motorists and pedestrians into, the state of New York, particularly, deemed it necessary to increase demerit points for violation of texting while driving ban from 3 to 5 (this change became effective on June 1, 2013).

States vary with regard to prohibition of cell phone use while driving. At least 44 states, including the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, and D.C., ban text messaging for all drivers (but not talking on the phone), while 37 states plus D.C. prohibit any form of cell phone use by teen and new drivers – the ones mostly involved in car crashes resulting to injury or death (based on CDC and NHTSA records).

Driving distraction, however, is never limited to cell phone use, whether using it to text or talk with someone. There are many other forms of distractions that almost all drivers are guilty of, but without even noticing it. Anything that takes one’s eyes off the road, hand off the wheel, and/or mind off driving, like eating, talking with friends, talking on the phone (whether on a handheld or hands-free phone), adjusting a GPS or radio, applying make-up, and so forth, is a form of distraction.

An article on the website of law firm Williams Kherkher explains how a driving accident due to distractions, which are totally preventable, can suddenly change a person’s (and his/her family’s) life. An injury will also mean lost wages (due to inability to render work for a number of days) and medical bills. In relation to such, Williams Kherkher advises injured victims of car accidents to contact a personal injury lawyer, who can clearly help them in all legal concerns, including the possibility of being compensated by the liable party.

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