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Distracted Driving Accidents: Phones, Food, and Fault

Posted on 05/06/24 by admin in Auto Accidents

Whether commuting, traveling, running errands, or engaging in recreational activities, it’s common for Americans to spend extended amounts of time in their cars. A car can take on a vast variety of uses beyond the obvious depending on the owner’s needs. The driver’s seat can be an office, a lounge, a campsite, and a food court. When we spend this much time in our vehicles, it’s only natural to treat the act of driving as casual. But it’s important to retain focus and exercise responsibility behind the wheel. Distracted driving can lead to deadly consequences. Malloy Law Offices would like to caution readers of this blog against the dangers of being distracted behind the wheel. In addition, we’ll seek to inform victims of distracted driving accidents of their options. Let’s get started.

distracted driving

The Bare Facts of Distracted Driving Accidents

According to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 2022 saw 3,308 people killed as well as 289,310 injuries caused by distracted driving. The NHTSA also found that already vulnerable road users like cyclists and pedestrians are especially at risk of falling victim to a distracted driver. Distracted driving has been cited as a major driver behind an increase in vulnerable road user fatalities. You may already have an idea of what distracted driving may look like in practice, but let’s cover two of the most common forms it may take.

Cell Phone Use Behind the Wheel

The smartphone age has meant unprecedented connectivity with the world around us. We face an unprecedented level of attention demanded by news, social media, and conversations with friends and loved ones. Given the omnipresent quality of our smartphones, it’s perhaps understandable why some believe a short text message or a few social media interactions at a long stoplight aren’t a big deal. But small lapses in concentration can have big consequences. A few short taps and swipes can spiral into a legitimately dangerous habit.

Malloy Law Offices advises our community to avoid use of their cellphones’ instant messaging features while behind the wheel. Many modern cars have “hands free” features. These features allow driver to make phone calls without touching their devices. Some are even able to send messages via speech to text software. While these measures may be safer, the majority of a driver’s attention should always be monitoring the road and their surroundings. Park your car before engaging in text messaging.

NHTSA distracted driving stats

Texting, Driving, and Negligence

You’ve likely seen one of several public safety advertising campaigns warning of the potential consequences of texting while driving. You may not be aware of the potential consequences of an accident caused by cell phone use behind the wheel.

Just as a brief refresher: when one driver sues another for damages suffered in a car accident, the driver who brings the lawsuit must prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident due to their negligence. “Negligence” can be understood as a failure to exercise a minimum of care and responsibility for the safety of others. It has been successfully argued in legal proceedings that drivers using their phones at the time of an accident or immediately beforehand were behaving negligently.

Drivers should also be aware that negligence is a two way street. A driver’s legal counsel could defend against a lawsuit by citing the cellphone use of the driver bringing the lawsuit. This is especially relevant in a Contributory Negligence state like Maryland, where even a partial responsibility for causing an accident may mean that you are completely barred from compensation for injuries, lost wages, damaged property, or emotional trauma.

Eating and Driving

A trip to the drive thru can be convenient, economical, and even nostalgic. But it’s generally best to park your car before digging in. While eating and driving may appear like a good way to save time, it’s also a serious source of distracted driving accidents. While the similarities to cellphone use behind the wheel may not be immediately apparent, many of the actions which lead to accidents and near misses are the same. These include:

  • Driving with only one hand on the steering wheel
  • Taking one’s eyes off the road to reach for something else
  • Failure to survey one’s surroundings, especially in blind spots and peripheral vision.

distracted driving

How Malloy Law Can Help

If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, contact Malloy Law today for a free consultation. Our legal team is home to some of the beltway region’s car accident specialists. We can boast a multilingual staff and client-first, empathetic approach to law. We have the resources to meet victims where they are and get them where they need to be. Don’t face the aftermath of your distracted driving accident alone. Contact Malloy Law today and let’s win your case.