As a nation that actively promotes “multi-tasking,” this habit has made its way into driving for many Americans. Unfortunately, multi-tasking should never be a part of driving. When you are behind the wheel, you should be fully present and should resist any potential distractions. One distraction that lasts only a few seconds can potentially change lives forever. While cell phones and navigation devices are often the culprit when it comes to distracted driving, there are many more distractions that have become commonplace. 

The National Safety Council found in 2020 that at least 3,142 auto accident deaths could be attributed to some type of distraction. Keep in mind that these are the known distractions—since, in most cases, the at-fault driver does not admit that they have been distracted. If you are the victim of a distracted driving accident, you can benefit significantly from speaking to a knowledgeable Richmond distracted driving accident lawyer from Tronfeld West & Durrett. We have handled many similar cases and know the best ways to prove that the other driver was distracted and that their distraction caused the accident. 

What Contributes to Distracted Driving Accidents?

There are many different distractions for today’s drivers, along with different types of distractions. A visual distraction involves taking your eyes off of the road, whether to text, pick up a child’s toy, look at something on the side of the road, or look at a passenger you are talking to. A manual distraction means you have taken your hands off of the wheel. Picking up a child’s toy is both a visual distraction and a manual distraction. Eating can be considered a manual distraction and is known to cause many accidents. 

The third type of distraction is cognitive distraction, which means you are thinking about what you need to pick up at the grocery store rather than paying attention to the other drivers around you. Texting is a visual, manual, and cognitive distraction, which is why it is considered one of the most dangerous types of distraction. Talking on a cell phone—even when you use a hands-free device—is still a cognitive distraction, as your focus is on your conversation rather than on the road. The most common types of driver distraction include:

  • Texting
  • Talking on a cell phone
  • Fiddling with car controls or GPS devices
  • Eating
  • Talking to a passenger
  • Watching something happening on the side of the road
  • Turning around to see what the kids or pets are doing in the back seat

While texting rightfully gets the majority of the attention when discussing driver distractions, parents with children in the car may actually be the most distracted of any drivers on the roadways. 

Drivers must train themselves to do nothing but drive when behind the wheel and forget about multi-tasking. If you need to check on a child or make a phone call, pull off of the road. You may give up a couple of minutes, but you are much less likely to cause an accident that could potentially cause severe injuries or even cost a life.  

How Can You Avoid an Accident With a Distracted Driver?

Although you have control over your own distractions, you have very little control over the distractions of other drivers. If you see another driver who is talking on the phone, obviously texting, looking at their phone, eating, or applying makeup, you can distance yourself from that driver. Unfortunately, you rarely see a distracted driver until they hit you, as it’s easier to spot a reckless or careless driver who’s driving too fast, failing to yield, tailgating, or weaving in and out of traffic. The best you can do is to drive defensively—which you should be doing anyway. If another driver is tailgating you, switch lanes or even pull over if you can do so safely. Better to lose a few seconds than to end up being rear-ended. 

How Many Accidents Involve Distracted Drivers?

According to a recent Forbes article, the following is true regarding distracted driving:

  • At least 3,000 people die each year in an auto accident caused by a distracted driver, accounting for 8-9% of all fatal motor vehicle collisions across the U.S.
  • Not only does distracted driving cause injuries and deaths when two vehicles are involved, but in 2020, 587 pedestrians and cyclists were killed by distracted drivers. 
  • For each hour of driving time, drivers spend an average of one minute and thirty-eight seconds on their phones. 
  • While distracted driving is a problem at all times, inattention tends to increase even more in the evening, between the hours of 6 and 11 p.m. 
  • Cell phone use—whether talking, texting, or using the map function—causes at least 12% of all car accidents. 
  • Drivers between the ages of 25 and 34 are involved in the highest number of distracted driving accidents that result in a fatality, with teens between 15 and 19 years old taking the next-highest spot.  
  • Both males and females use cell phones inappropriately while driving, but women are slightly more likely to engage in cell phone use while driving.  
  • Virginia is one of 24 states that has banned handheld cell phone use while driving.   

For answers to your questions with a distracted driving serving Richmond, call:
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 What Should You Do After an Accident With a Distracted Driver?

A distracted driving accident is similar to any other type of car accident as far as what you need to do following the accident, including:

  • When possible, move your vehicle safely off of the road
  • Call 911 for police and EMS
  • Exchange information with the other driver, including contact information and insurance information
  • Take photographs of the scene of the accident when possible
  • Get medical attention, even if you don’t think you are hurt that badly
  • If there are witnesses to the accident, get their contact information
  • Once you are safely home, write down any details of the accident that you can remember
  • Contact your own insurance company and relay the basic facts of the accident
  • Contact an experienced Richmond distracted driving accident lawyer

Hiring a Richmond Distracted Driving Attorney to Help You

Whether you choose your Richmond distracted driving attorney by obtaining referrals from friends, family members, or co-workers, or you look online to find a local law firm that seems to reflect your needs, your distracted driving attorney can do the following for you:

  • Comprehensively investigate your distracted driving accident
  • Gather witness statements and police reports
  • Definitively prove which party is liable
  • Obtain your medical records relating to the accident
  • Have knowledge of or research case law and state statutes
  • Prepare a demand letter after carefully calculating your actual damages
  • Negotiate a fair settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company
  • File a lawsuit in order to secure a fair settlement for your damages, in the event that negotiations are unsuccessful

Proving fault can sometimes be complex. However, an experienced Richmond distracted driving accident lawyer will look at traffic reports, social media, and other types of electronic footprints in order to establish distracted driving behavior patterns. Police reports, cell phone records, driver statements, witness statements, social media posts, photos and videos, event data recorders in the vehicles, and accident reconstruction can all be used to prove that the other party is responsible following your accident. 

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How a Richmond Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer From Tronfeld West & Durrett Can Help

The single best thing you can do following an auto accident—other than obtaining appropriate medical treatment for your injuries—is to contact a knowledgeable Richmond distracted driving accident lawyer from Tronfeld West & Durrett. Our attorneys have been helping people in similar situations get the help they need since 1972. Whether you are in Richmond, Chesterfield, Petersburg, Mechanicsville, or elsewhere in the state of Virginia, we can help. Our highly skilled attorneys will help you get your life back on track by first ensuring that you get the medical treatments you need, and then pursuing a settlement on your behalf that fully covers all of your damages. Don’t wait—contact Tronfeld West & Durrett today. 

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