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Distracted Driving Accidents

Waldorf Distracted Driving Accident Attorneys

INjured by a Distracted Driver in Waldorf, MD?

If you were injured or your loved one was killed in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, turn to the experienced Waldorf distracted driving accident lawyers at Farmer & Klopfer. Our team is committed to providing personalized, compassionate care throughout the recovery process. We are also committed to holding negligent drivers accountable for their actions and advocating for maximum compensation on your behalf.

When you're ready to discuss your legal options, we invite you to call our office at (301) 265-2220. Our team is available to answer your questions and provide the support you need to move forward.

What is a "Distracted Driving" Accident?

Driving is already an inherently dangerous activity. The roads are full of other drivers who are also trying to get to their destinations on time, as well as pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vehicles. The inherent danger of driving is compounded by the fact that many drivers are not fully focused on the road.

Distracted driving accidents occur when a driver is not paying attention to the road due to a distraction inside or outside of the vehicle. It involves engaging in activities that take their focus away from the road, increasing the risk of accidents.

There are three main types of distractions:

  1. Visual distraction: This occurs when a driver looks at something other than the road, like checking their phone or looking at a map.
  2. Manual distraction: This involves taking one or both hands off the steering wheel to do something else, such as texting, eating, or adjusting controls.
  3. Cognitive distraction: This happens when a driver's mind wanders away from driving, like daydreaming or being preoccupied with other thoughts.

Each type of distraction is hazardous as it impairs a driver's ability to observe and respond to traffic conditions and unexpected events. Distracted driving has become a significant problem due to the prevalence of mobile devices and other technologies that can easily divert a driver's attention.

Examples of common distracted driving accidents include:

  • Cell phone use: Texting, talking, or browsing on a cell phone while driving is one of the leading causes of distracted driving accidents.
  • Eating or drinking: Consuming food or beverages while driving can take your hands off the wheel and your eyes off the road.
  • Adjusting controls: Fiddling with the radio, GPS, air conditioning, or other controls inside the vehicle can divert attention from driving.
  • Talking to passengers: Engaging in conversation with passengers, especially when it becomes intense or emotional, can distract the driver.
  • Grooming: Fixing hair, applying makeup, or other grooming activities while driving can significantly impair your ability to focus on the road.
  • Daydreaming: Allowing your mind to wander or getting lost in thought while driving can lead to reduced awareness of your surroundings.
  • External distractions: Things happening outside the vehicle, such as looking at accidents, roadside attractions, or billboards, can divert attention from driving.
  • Using electronic devices: Besides cell phones, other electronic devices like tablets, laptops, or music players can distract drivers if used while driving.
  • Reading: Reading maps, books, or other materials while driving takes attention away from the road.
  • Reaching for objects: Trying to grab items from the back seat, floor, or dashboard while driving can cause a loss of control of the vehicle.
  • Fatigue: Driving while tired or drowsy can impair reaction times and decision-making abilities, leading to increased chances of accidents.
  • Emotional distractions: Strong emotions such as stress, anger, or sadness can interfere with concentration and reaction times while driving.
  • Rubbernecking: Slowing down or stopping to look at accidents or other incidents on the road can lead to secondary accidents and traffic congestion.

These types of accidents are extremely dangerous because the distracted driver is not paying attention to the road. They are not only a danger to themselves, but to other drivers on the road and pedestrians. Distracted driving accidents are the cause of many car and truck accidents in Maryland.

Maryland Distracted Driving Laws

Maryland prohibits the use of handheld cell phones while driving. This means drivers are not allowed to hold their cell phones to talk, text, browse the internet, or perform any other functions while driving. This law applies to all drivers, regardless of age or experience.

The state specifically prohibits texting while driving for all drivers. This includes reading, writing, or sending text messages or emails while operating a vehicle.

However, drivers are permitted to use cell phones only if they are using hands-free devices, such as Bluetooth earpieces or speakerphone systems. This enables drivers to make calls or use navigation apps without holding the phone.

Maryland has additional restrictions for young drivers regarding cell phone use. Drivers under the age of 18 with learner's permits or provisional licenses are not allowed to use handheld or hands-free cell phones while driving, except in emergencies to contact emergency services.

Violations of Maryland's distracted driving laws can result in fines and points on the driver's record. Penalties may vary depending on the specific violation and any previous offenses.

How Many People Are Involved in Distracted Driving Accidents?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,179 people were killed in distracted driving accidents in 2017. This is an increase of 37% since 2013. The NHTSA estimates that over 1.5 million people were injured in distracted driving accidents in 2017. These are only the reported cases, and many more go unreported.

Distracted driving accidents are most common among teens. According to the NHTSA, over one-third of all car accidents involving teen drivers are caused by distracted driving. The most common distraction for teen drivers is texting while driving. However, teens are not the only drivers who are distracted.

Distracted driving accidents can happen to anyone.

Gathering Evidence After a Distracted Driving Accident

In a distracted driving accident investigation, various types of evidence can be collected to determine the cause of the crash and establish liability. Here are some common types of evidence:

  • Eyewitness Testimony: Statements from eyewitnesses who observed the accident can provide valuable information about what happened, including whether they saw the driver engaged in distracting behavior before the crash.
  • Cell Phone Records: If cell phone use is suspected as a factor in the accident, cell phone records can be obtained to determine if calls or text messages were made or received around the time of the crash.
  • Vehicle Data: Many modern vehicles are equipped with event data recorders (EDRs), also known as "black boxes," which capture data such as vehicle speed, braking, and acceleration in the moments leading up to a crash. This data can help reconstruct the sequence of events and determine if the driver was distracted.
  • Surveillance Footage: Surveillance cameras from nearby businesses or traffic cameras may have captured footage of the accident, providing visual evidence of the events leading up to the crash.
  • Physical Evidence: Physical evidence from the accident scene, such as skid marks, vehicle damage, and debris, can help reconstruct the accident and determine factors such as speed and direction of travel.
  • Police Reports: Law enforcement officers who respond to the accident scene will typically file a report detailing their observations, including any evidence of distracted driving they may have observed or gathered from witnesses.
  • Medical Records: If injuries were sustained in the accident, medical records can provide information about the severity of the injuries and any treatment received, which may be relevant to determining liability.
  • Driver Statements: Statements from the drivers involved in the accident can provide insight into their actions and behaviors leading up to the crash, including whether they were distracted at the time of the collision.
  • Expert Analysis: Expert witnesses, such as accident reconstructionists or human factors specialists, may be called upon to analyze the evidence and provide opinions about the cause of the accident and whether distracted driving played a role.

What Damages Are Available in a Distracted Driving Accident Claim?

In a personal injury claim, you will be asking for compensation for a variety of damages. The type of damages that you can recover will depend on the circumstances of your case.

In a distracted driving accident claim, you will likely be able to recover damages for:

  • Medical expenses: Your medical expenses will include the costs of any treatment you received for your injuries. This can include the cost of any medications that you have to take on a regular basis, any surgeries you have to undergo, and any physical therapy you have to undergo.
  • Lost wages: If you are unable to work due to your injuries, you may be able to recover compensation for your lost wages. This will depend on how long you are unable to work and how much you normally earn per year. You may also be able to recover compensation for future lost wages if you will be unable to work in the future due to your injuries.
  • Pain and suffering: You may be able to recover compensation for the pain and suffering you have experienced due to your injuries. This can include physical pain, mental anguish, emotional pain, and more.

Do not hesitate to let our legal team investigate your case, collect evidence, and fight for the compensation you deserve. We are ready to protect your rights and best interests inside and outside the courtroom.

Contact us today at (301) 265-2220 to schedule a free consultation.

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  • $966,000 | Car Accident - 2019
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