Cellphones are a major cause of distracted driving accidents, and it’s not only teens and young adults who are the culprits. Recently, in Oakland, CA – where it is illegal to use a cellphone while driving, the city’s mayor, Jean Quan, was reported to have been involved in two separate minor incidents; in both, she was allegedly using her cellphone while driving. In one incident, which resulted in her crashing her SUV into another car, eyewitnesses claim the mayor ran a red light while using her cellphone.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 65% of near crashes and 80% of actual collisions are the result of distracted driving. Drivers who use their cellphones while behind the wheel are 23 times more likely to have a distracted driving accident than their non-cellphone-using counterparts, and are three times more liable to crash. However, the use of cellphones is not the only cause of distracted driving; children and infants are 4-8 times more distracting than adult passengers. Eating, chatting, and using Satnav, for example, are also distractions which can – and do – cause accidents. Distracted driving accounts for around four million automobile accidents annually across the US, with nine people dying every day, and a further 1,060 injured in crashes.
On average, it takes around five seconds to look at an SMS; this means that at 55mph, the driver has driven the equivalent of a football field without paying attention to the road. Unfortunately, a staggering 77% of young adults claim to be confident that they can simultaneously drive and send texts, yet for 10% the time, they are actually driving outside their lane. Most young adult drivers believe that reading a text is safer than sending one.
New York is one of only 10 states (plus DC) that prohibits drivers from using portable electronic devices, including cellphones. However, between 2005 and 2011, the state saw an increase of 143% in cellphone-related collisions, with over 3000 fatalities in 2011 alone. In 2012, the New York Police Department issued over 30,000 tickets for texting while driving – a 234% increase from 2011.
According to the NYPD, distracted driving is a major cause of auto accidents in New York City. From head-on collisions to rear-end smashes, property damage, pedestrian injuries, and even death – if you, or someone you know, has been affected by a distracted driver, you should not hesitate to contact a New York car accident lawyer for a consultation.
If you believe that you are a victim of a distracted driver accident, you may be entitled to damages – including compensation for loss of earnings – which means you’ll need a New York car accident lawyer to help you understand your rights.
At Antin, Erlich & Epstein LLP, our highly-trained car accident attorneys will be happy to set up a meeting with you to discuss the viability of your claim and help you get the compensation you are entitled to.