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Monterey Personal Injury Lawyer > Distracted Driving Accident

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 3,000 people lose their lives every year because of distracted driving. The actual number is likely far higher since there is no definitive test to know whether an accident was caused by distracted driving the way one can test for alcohol or speed-related factors. To know distracted driving was to blame, you need cellphone data, eyewitnesses, or the driver’s admission of fault, and these are not always easy to come by. All safety experts agree that distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents and that the problem is getting worse. For fifty years traffic fatalities went down every year until about 2010, when they started rising and have continued to climb every year. The 1970s saw the rise of seat belt laws and new safety features like airbags, whereas the 2010s saw the rise of smartphones and social media apps.

If you’ve been hurt in a distracted driving car accident, you need an attorney on your side who understands how to build a case proving the other driver’s fault and liability to you for the full extent of your damages. Attorney Scott J. Allen of the Allen Law Firm in Monterey, Salinas and Santa Cruz has been doing exactly that for over 20 years. We’ll work with you personally and tirelessly to get you justice and compensation for your injuries. Contact our experienced lawyer today for a free consultation.

Three Types of Distracted Driving Dangers

Distracted driving is more than just texting while driving, although that is certainly a very distracting and dangerous thing to do while driving. Distracted driving in general is doing any activity that takes your attention away from the task of driving. It includes texting while driving but also talking on the phone (handheld or hands-free), eating, drinking, getting into conversations with your passengers, or getting too involved with tuning the radio or programming your GPS.

Distracted driving as defined by safety experts comes in three different varieties: visual distractions, manual distractions, and cognitive distractions:

  • Visual distractions mean you take your eyes off the road, such as to read a text, look at your notes, or check your hair in the mirror
  • Manual distractions make you take your hands off the steering wheel, such as to eat, drink, apply makeup, or write a text
  • Cognitive distractions take your mind and attention away from driving, such as reading and responding to a text, rehearsing a speech for an upcoming business meeting, or getting into a deep conversation over the phone or with a passenger

You’ll note that texting while driving was included as an example of all three types of distractions, which is what makes it so dangerous. Most of us would be scared to death to close our eyes for several seconds while barreling down the highway, but it’s all too easy to get lost in a text message, social media status or “breaking news” update and forget to look up at the road in time to avoid a crash.

California Distracted Driving Laws and Distracted Driving Car Accidents

California has banned the handheld use of cellphones or similar electronic communication devices while driving, except for emergency calls to police, doctors, or other emergency services. Drivers can lawfully use their phones hands-free through voice commands and speaker control, except for drivers under 18 years old, who can’t use a cell phone while driving at all. Younger and less experienced drivers are more likely to get into accidents and also more likely to use their phones while driving.

To comply with the law, the cellphone should be mounted to the windshield the same way a GPS is required by law to be mounted. Drivers can only touch the phone to activate or deactivate the device with a single swipe or tap of their finger.

Violation of the hands-free law is an infraction punishable by a $20 fine for a first offense or $50 for a subsequent offense. While this might not seem like much of a penalty, it can be very important in a car accident case. These laws are meant to prevent traffic accidents and the serious injuries that can result. When a driver violates a traffic safety law and causes the type of harm the law was meant to prevent, they can be considered “negligent per se.” This fact relieves the accident victim of the additional burden of proving the driver who hit them was negligent. We must still prove their negligence was the cause of the accident, and we must still prove the extent of the damage they caused, so it’s still vital to have an attorney represent you for a successful claim with maximum compensation.

Even if the other driver isn’t cited for violating the law, if you believe they were on their phone or otherwise driving distracted, we’ll still work to gather the appropriate evidence and prove their liability to you. With over 20 years of experience dealing with car accident claims in Monterey, Salinas, Santa Cruz and surrounding areas, we at the Allen Law Firm have handled just about every kind of accident and know what it takes to prepare and present a successful case.

Contact the Allen Law Firm Today

If you or a loved one were injured in a distracted driving crash in Monterey, Santa Cruz, Salinas or surrounding communities, call an experienced Monterey distracted driving car accident lawyer at the Allen Law Firm for a free consultation. There’s no fee unless and until we obtain compensation on your behalf.

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