Even though fatalities and injuries are generally down from a few years ago, an alarming number of drivers, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians continue to be killed or seriously injured by vehicle accidents. And when people are injured or killed, they and their families often find themselves in need of a seasoned attorney to help them be fairly compensated when they become victims of accidents that happened for the following reasons.
Distracted Driving-related Wrecks Continue to Rise Alarmingly
Distracted driving occurs when someone drives while performing other activities, such as texting, talking on the phone or to a passenger, looking after children, watching videos, eating, or putting on makeup. Distractions cause drivers to not fully focus on the road and essentially turn their vehicles into unguided missiles – if only for a few harrowing seconds. According to a 2017 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) more than nine Americans die and at least 1,000 are injured every day in crashes that involve a distracted driver.
The center cites the following primary causes of distracted driving:
- Visual: taking your eyes off the road
- Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving.
Sending a text message, talking on your smartphone, gazing at a navigation system, and eating while driving are all prominent examples of cognitive distracted driving. Texting takes your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds, during which, when driving at 55 mph, you travel the length of a football field. Small wonder that there are many states in addition to New York that now have laws to penalize distracted driving.
Impaired Driving Still Causes Too Many Accidents
In 2014 – the latest year for which the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) released accident statistics – over 7,000 wrecks happened that involved at least one drunk driver. In them, 102 died and over 3,800 were seriously injured. The same statistics revealed that in 2014 147 accidents occurred in which one driver was under the influence of drugs. One fatality and 78 serious injuries resulted.
When a drunk driving crash occurs, often two types of legal action may be taken against the driver: criminal prosecution and a civil claim or lawsuit against the drunk driver’s insurance coverage by injured victims. And though the cases are different, when the suspect-driver is convicted of criminal DWI (drinking) or DUI (drugs), the chances for injured victims to win their civil case significantly improve. This is why those who are injured victims – or surviving family members if a death occurs – must quickly contact an experienced injury attorney.
Accidents Caused by a Fatigued Driver
Though weary or exhausted drivers cause their own share of accidents, many are attributed to over-the-road (O-T-R) commercial drivers. Even if these crashes are caused by drowsy driving, many involve just one vehicle. Those who drive tow trucks, tractor trailers, and buses often spend inordinately long periods of time pushing their rigs in order to keep to their schedules. And though the U.S. Department of Transportation has clear guidelines on how long these drivers may be allowed behind the wheel without taking a break, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee these rules are stringently followed. Too often, O-T-R drivers end up taking amphetamines so they can squeeze a few extra hours of drive-time.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finds that drowsy driving caused 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and over 800 deaths in 2013-2014. But these statistics may be misleading, as an additional 6,000 fatal crashes during that period may have been caused by drowsy drivers, although researchers were not certain.
If you are the injured victim of any driving-related accident, we can help. Contact Kaplan Lawyers PC today to learn more about your options.