Car accidents involving distracted drivers have become so prevalent that many vehicle safety experts now refer to distracted driving as “the new DWI.” It is estimated that as many as 5,500 people are killed by distracted drivers annually, and another 450,000 are injured.
Quite simply, distracted driving occurs any time a driver does not pay full attention to operating the vehicle. One’s mind, eyes and hands should be focused on driving at all times to avoid accidents.
The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, has handled thousands of car accidents on Long Island and throughout New York City – including many accidents that involved driver distraction. We know what you are going through and can address urgent issues such as medical care, car repairs or replacement, and working with insurance companies to get you the compensation you deserve.
Contact our Long Island car accident lawyer for a free consultation and discussion about your legal options.
While distracted driving has always been a significant car accident risk, the danger has grown exponentially with the advent of mobile phones and other digital devices. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that 18 percent of all fatal distracted driving accidents are caused by the use of a cell phone to talk or send text messages.
Mobile phone use while driving is a particularly dangerous distraction because it affects drivers on all three levels of driver distraction – mental, physical and visual. A cell phone is a mental distraction regardless of how it is being used. A driver may use a smart phone for phone calls, text messaging, web surfing, email and a myriad of other uses, all of which divert a driver’s full attention from driving.
The use of a cell phone or other electronic device while driving poses a twofold risk. First, the fact the driver’s attention is on the phone means that the driver will have less time to react to a potential hazard, so the driver is more likely to get into an accident. Secondly, drivers involved in car accidents while using a cell phone also tend to experience more serious injuries.
Drivers using small handheld electronic devices face a 400 percent higher risk of being involved in a crash that causes injury. The scope of the risk is more fully illustrated by a study conducted at the University of Utah, which revealed that text messaging while driving slows driver’s reaction times even more than a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Young drivers are the most at-risk: drivers under age 20 involved in a fatal included the highest proportion of distracted drivers of any group.
New York has a primary law on handheld use of cell phones for calling, which means that you can be ticketed even if you are not violating any other law. Text messaging while driving is also prohibited, but the law is only a secondary violation so a driver may not be pulled over or ticketed solely for a text messaging violation.
Further, smart phones’ capacity has increased so substantially that there are many other uses of these devices while driving that are not yet prohibited under New York law. Cell phones also pose a substantial risk of being a physical distraction when drivers attempt to manipulate the keys while driving. The dangers associated with diverting one’s eyes the road to look at the screen or buttons of a mobile phone should be obvious.
While mobile phones have been responsible for the most significant increase in distracted driving accidents, there are many other types of distractions that may cause a serious car accident including:
If you are involved in a car accident on Long Island with a driver who was distracted and not focusing their full attention on driving, driver inattention may be a basis for finding negligence and imposing liability on the driver for your injuries.
A driver who is violating the ban on cell phone use also may be liable based on a legal doctrine called “negligence per se.” This essentially means that if someone violates a public safety law and injures someone who is in the group that was to be protected by that law, the violator is liable for injuries that his or her violation causes. Our experienced Long Island accident lawyers at Cohen & Jaffe have successfully represented many victims of distracted drivers.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, is ready to help you. We have the resources necessary to fully investigate the accident to find out what really happened. We can look for cell phone records and other evidence of distracted driving, for example.
At Cohen & Jaffe, our concern is your right to full and fair compensation. We have collected millions of dollars for our clients. We are ready to put our experience to work for you.
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