Distracted driving puts lives at risk every day. And it happens everywhere. It’s hard to travel down a single Honolulu road without seeing at least one driver fiddling with a cell phone behind the wheel.
Texting and cell phone use get the most attention, but the truth is that any activity that takes a driver’s mind off the road counts as distracted driving. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 391,000 people are injured in distracted driving accidents each year, and thousands are killed.
If a negligent driver causes an accident that injures someone else, victims have the right to seek compensation for their injuries. But unlike a drunk driving accident, where a breath or blood test can confirm that someone is intoxicated, it’s not as easy to prove that a driver was distracted at the time of the crash. That’s where Recovery Law Center can help.
Attorney Glenn Honda is a skilled trial lawyer with years of experience representing individuals who have been harmed in Honolulu distracted driving accidents. He knows what it takes to build a solid case for maximum compensation and will fight tirelessly in an effort to get you the results you deserve.
What is Distracted Driving?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines distracted driving as any activity that takes a person’s attention away from the task of driving safely. They could be:
- Cognitive distractions: Anything that takes the motorist’s mind off of driving
- Manual distractions: Activities that take the driver’s hands off of the wheel
- Visual distractions: Something that takes the driver’s eyes off the road.
The most common forms of distracted driving include:
- Cell phone use, including texting and emailing
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to other people in the vehicle
- Adjusting in-vehicle technologies, including the radio or navigation system
- Searching or reaching for items in the car
- Personal grooming
- Attending to children in the backseat
Any one of these distractions can result in a collision, but texting is considered the most dangerous activity because it all three forms of distraction to complete.
Types of Accidents Caused by Distracted Driving
Distracted driving can and does cause a wide range of accidents, but certain types of collisions tend to be associated more often with operating a vehicle while distracted. These include
- Rear-end accidents: Many drivers are tempted to respond to text messages, check their email or adjust with the radio or GPS at stop lights. While this may seem like a safe option, it can actually result in rear-end collisions if the at-fault driver starts accelerating while still looking at his or her phone.
- Sideswipe accidents: Taking your eyes off the road to pick up a child’s toy or using your hands to eat a cheeseburger can cause you to swerve out of your lane momentarily. Unfortunately, that’s all it takes to hit another vehicle, perhaps causing serious injuries.
- Head-on crashes: Drivers who aren’t paying attention may turn the wrong way down a one-way street or cross over the center line in traffic, causing a front-end crash.
Whatever the type of accident in question, collisions caused by distracted driving tend to result in serious injuries, as they often occur at high speed and with little warning.
What Percent of Accidents are Caused by Distracted Drivers?
As many as nine people lose their lives in distracted driving accidents every day. In addition to these tragic fatalities, NHTSA reports that more than 1,000 people are injured in distracted driving crashes on a daily basis. The agency’s latest data shows that 3,166 people died in distracted driving accidents in 2017 alone.
According to the National Safety Council, around 25 percent of fatal crashes involve the use of cell phones, with 21 percent attributed to phone conversations and four percent attributed to texting.
Despite these statistics, an ongoing concern nationwide is how to prove that a driver was distracted at the moment of a crash. Unless a driver admits to distraction at the accident scene, it can be difficult for law enforcement to prove that he or she was engaging in these types of dangerous behaviors.
Still, that doesn’t mean that you’re out of luck when it comes to collecting compensation. But it does mean that you should contact an experienced distracted driving lawyer as soon as possible.
How to Prove a Driver Was Distracted
Proving that another driver was distracted while driving and caused a collision is essential in order to receive compensation for accident-related losses. Since few drivers are willing to admit being the cause of an accident, your lawyer will need to prove fault another way.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to do that.
For instance, Hawaii law prohibits the use of any mobile electronic devices while operating a vehicle, which includes not only cell phones, but also iPods and navigation devices. The state’s traffic laws also specifically bar drivers from using hand-held devices when stopped at a stop sign or red light. Using a hands-free mobile device while driving is even unlawful for some drivers, namely those who are under 18.
Because this type of conduct is unlawful, police officers who respond to accidents often make note of any violations committed by one party, including whether one driver was seen using a phone or being otherwise distracted. Each party’s side of the story is usually included in the police report.
Injured parties may also be able to take photos at the accident scene that can show evidence of distraction, such as the presence of a cell phone or an open fast food container on the passenger seat.
Even if this evidence is not present, a plaintiff could still be able to prove distraction by requesting access to the other motorist’s cell phone records, or video footage from traffic cameras or security cameras at local businesses.Expert testimony can be another useful tool.
For example, an accident reconstruction specialist could be able to point to skid mark measurements as proof that a driver waited much longer than the average person to brake before the collision, which is usually indicative of distraction.
In Hawaii, you have two years from the date of your distracted driving accident to file a claim for compensation. But it’s advisable to contact an attorney well before that deadline to ensure that important evidence isn’t lost or destroyed.
How Can Recovery Law Center Help Me?
Being in a car accident is a terrifying experience, especially if you or a loved one is injured. Depending on the severity of the injuries, the time after the crash can be particularly stressful. Thinking about taking legal action may feel overwhelming.
Let Recovery Law Center take the burden off of you. Our legal team can handle all aspects of your case, including managing all conversations with the insurance companies, determining who is at fault for the wreck and fighting for maximum compensation during settlement talks or, if necessary, at trial.
Our Honolulu distracted driving lawyer will work to achieve the best resolution of your case with as little disruption to your life as possible. That way, you and your family can focus on rebuilding your lives again.
Contact a Honolulu Distracted Driving Accident Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured by a distracted driver, you have legal rights. Attorney Glenn Honda can help you protect them.