Birmingham Distracted Driving Accident Attorney
The Alabama Department of Transportation’s Crash Facts reports 47 certified fatalities associated with distracted driving in 2019, but the true numbers may be much higher. It’s not always possible to know if a person’s distraction was the cause of a crash. We do know that starting around 1970, the rate of traffic accidents declined every year until about 2010, when it started going up again and has been rising ever since. This change corresponds with the rise in the use of smartphones and the proliferation of social media apps people access through their phones. We also know from surveys conducted by AAA and the CDC that over a third of young drivers admit to texting while driving and many more likely do it but don’t admit it. The National Safety Council estimates that as many as one-quarter of all traffic accidents are caused by texting while driving, which would mean 39,776 crashes and 233 deaths in Alabama in 2019, all because people can’t stay off their phones even when it is clearly unsafe to be on them.
Distracted driving, including texting while driving, is negligent behavior, and a person who does it fails in their duty to drive with reasonable care. Distracted drivers who cause a crash can be held liable for the injuries and other harm they inflict on the innocent drivers they hit. Distracted driving car accidents can result in severe and catastrophic injuries, as a distracted driver might unknowingly run a red light or stop sign or not realize they are about to hit another car in time to brake and lessen the impact and damage.
The Birmingham distracted driving accident attorneys at Goldasich, Vick & Fulk have the skills and experience necessary to hold distracted drivers accountable for the harm they cause and recover significant compensation for people who have suffered the most serious or catastrophic injuries at the hands of a distracted driver. Based on our years of experience and record of results, we know how to prove the driver’s fault and build a strong case that proves the amount of compensation necessary to make up for a lifetime of medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and other legal damages. Give us a call if you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver in Birmingham. We are ready to hear from you and fight for you and get the results you need.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Scientists who study distracted driving break distractions down into three categories: visual distractions, manual distractions, and cognitive distractions.
A visual distraction takes your eyes off the road. Looking at your cell phone, adjusting the radio, reading a map, glancing at notes or papers for school or work, or checking your appearance in the mirror are all examples of visual distractions. It doesn’t take long at all for a visual distraction to cause a wreck. If you are going 60 miles per hour, taking your eyes off the road for three and a half seconds is enough time to travel the length of a football field. Traffic patterns can change in the blink of an eye, and if you aren’t paying attention to the road, you can cause a crash with disastrous results.
A manual distraction takes your hands off the steering wheel. Writing out a text or e-mail, checking your social media, putting on makeup, and eating all tie up your hands when they should be controlling the vehicle. If the car starts to veer or drift, or another vehicle or object suddenly appears in the road, you either won’t be able to avoid the object or you are likely to overcorrect and lose control or cause an accident in another lane.
A cognitive distraction takes your mind away from the task of driving. Reading or writing a text or social media post, talking on the phone, getting in a deep discussion or heated debate with your passengers, thinking about an upcoming meeting, or daydreaming are all examples of cognitive distractions. Research has shown that even after disengaging from a cognitively distracting activity, it still takes several moments for the mind to return its focus and attention to the task of driving
Alabama Texting and Driving Laws
Texting while driving is a particularly dangerous form of distracted driving because it involves all three types of distractions. Alabama law clearly prohibits reading, writing, or sending a text-based communication while operating a motor vehicle. Text-based communications are defined to include texts, e-mails, and instant messaging. The law does provide an exception to call emergency services, and it is legal to text while parked on the shoulder. It is also legal to use the phone’s GPS or navigation features while driving, although it is illegal to program in coordinates while driving.
The penalty for texting while driving is a $25 fine for a first offense, a $50 fine for a second offense, and a $75 fine for a subsequent offense. Texting while driving is a primary offense in Alabama, meaning the police don’t have to have any other reason to pull you over and give you a ticket.
Although these fines are very low, if you are hurt in a crash and the other driver is cited for texting while driving, this fact provides strong evidence of the driver’s negligence in your case for compensation. Even without a citation, there are ways to find out if a driver was using their phone shortly before a crash and hold that fact against them in a civil suit. The attorneys at Goldasich, Vick & Fulk make a living out of holding negligent actors accountable when their actions cause catastrophic injuries to innocent victims. We have the experience needed to build a strong case for full and fair compensation after a distracted driving car accident.
Compassionate and Dedicated Personal Injury Attorneys Helping Distracted Driving Car Accident Victims in Birmingham
If you or a loved one has been seriously hurt in a Birmingham distracted driving auto accident, call Goldasich, Vick & Fulk at 205-731-2566 for a free consultation regarding how we can help you get the care and compensation you need after being injured by another’s negligence through no fault of your own.