Kentucky Distracted Driving Accident AttorneyDangerous and Deadly Driving
Most of us do not remain totally focused on driving all the time. We drink coffee, talk to a passenger or change the radio station. But if the level of distraction is high enough, at the wrong time, in the wrong place, it could lead to an accident that results in serious or fatal injuries. We help those injured by distracted drivers obtain compensation for their injuries.
Distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), is any act that can divert the driver’s attention from the primary task of driving, endangering the driver, passengers, those in other vehicles and pedestrians. Drivers can be distracted in many ways:
- Use of a cell phone or smartphone
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Reading, including looking at maps or GPS devices or apps
- Using a radio, CD player, or MP3 player.
NHTSA states that text messaging is the “most alarming” form of distraction because it takes the most visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver. The agency also reports the following statistics:
- 3,154 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents involving distracted drivers in 2013. Perhaps due to more awareness of the problem, this was a 6.7% decrease from 2012. However, there was an increase of 3,000 injuries in distraction-related accidents, up to 424,000 in 2013.
- 10% of drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as being distracted when the accident occurred. This age group has the highest proportion of distracted drivers. Those in their 20’s make up 27% of distracted drivers involved in fatal vehicle accidents.
- At any given moment, about 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or other electronic devices while driving.
- The problem of distraction is not just what you do with your hands and eyes, but also what your brain is doing (or not doing). The use of headsets with cell or smartphones has been found to be not much safer than hand-held use.
- Drivers engaging in visual-manual tasks (reaching for a phone, dialing or texting) are three times more likely to be involved in an accident.
- The average time a driver’s eyes are off the road while texting is five seconds. If the vehicle is traveling at 55 miles per hour, that’s the equivalent of traveling the length of a football field while blindfolded.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) states:
- More than half the time drivers are behind the wheel, they are focused on something other than driving.
- The effect of distraction continues even after you put down the cell phone or adjust the radio. Distraction “latency” lasts an average of 27 seconds, so it takes time for a person to get back to being fully engaged in driving.
- Distraction is a factor in 16% of all fatal crashes, causing about 5,000 fatalities each year.
In Kentucky, it is against the law for a minor to use a “personal communication device” (i.e., cell phone) while driving and for anyone, of any age, to text while driving (see KRS 189.292 and .294). Nevertheless, there are thousands of vehicle accidents in Kentucky, and many of them involve distracted drivers. In 2014, according to the Kentucky State Police:
- 672 people were killed and 35,153 injured in motor vehicle accidents.
- 151,180 accidents were reported on public roads and private property (including parking lots).
- The leading cause of accidents in Kentucky was inattentive drivers (23%), while distracted drivers were the cause in 3.6% of crashes (ranked as the sixth highest cause of accidents, causing 6,514 accidents).
- Distracted drivers caused about twice as many accidents as all mechanical failures combined.
- Use of a cell phone caused 972 accidents (the 17th highest cause of accidents).
- More accidents were caused by cell phone use than the number two mechanical cause of accidents [tire failure (917)] or the sixth leading environmental cause [debris in the road (782)].
- There were 12,872 vehicle accidents in Fayette County, resulting in 28 deaths and 2,847 injuries.
Depending on whose estimates you use, in Fayette County anywhere from one to four people were killed by distracted drivers in 2014 and between 114 and 455 injured.
Behind these numbers are people and families — people who had their lives cut short or who suffered permanent or temporary, total or partial disabilities. Their families are missing their loved ones or had to spend time, energy and money caring for an injured family member. Money was spent not on mortgages, groceries or having a good time, but on funerals, medical bills and rehabilitation.
If you or a loved one has been injured because of a distracted driver, contact our office so we can talk about how the accident happened, the injuries that were caused, legal rights to compensation for injuries and your best options for protecting those rights and your interests. Don’t let yourself be victimized by the accident and by a failure to act now. Call us today.