The problem of distracted driving has been debated on the state and national level for several years now, but particularly with the rise in ownership and use of the ever-present “smartphone.” Most of our readers in Missouri are probably quite familiar with some of the telltale signs of a driver who is distracted by a phone while behind the wheel: sudden jerking of the vehicle to correct and stay in a lane, driving slower than other vehicles nearby or even being able to actually see the driver’s eyes in his own rearview mirror looking down at his lap and phone instead of at the road.
There is no doubt about it – distracted driving is quite prevalent in Missouri and throughout the country. And, distracted driving conduct can include more than just smartphone or electronic device use. Many drivers are distracted by their car radio or other “infotainment” systems in the vehicle, or perhaps they are eating or putting on makeup behind the wheel, among other potential distractions.
So, just how prevalent is distracted driving in America? Well, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in one year alone – 2018 – distracted driving was designated as the cause of over 2,800 traffic fatalities. That is a tragically high number, but the number of traffic injuries caused by distracted drivers was even higher that year: approximately 400,000.
Distracted drivers who cause accidents that lead to injuries may be held accountable in a personal injury lawsuit. Injured victims may be able to recover financial compensation in such a legal action against distracted drivers.