Who Is Responsible for a Distracted Driving Accident?

May 24, 2022

Distracted driving causes thousands of motor vehicle collisions each year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims that 3,000 people lose their lives annually. That leaves the question of who’s responsible for the accidents. Here’s some information about distracted driving and who’s to blame when a crash occurs:

What Is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving involves operating a vehicle with the driver’s attention split between two or more tasks. The most common distracted driving situation is texting while driving. Other examples are:

  • Talking on the phone
  • Texting or emailing
  • Watching a movie
  • Engaging in conversation
  • Programming a GPS
  • Touching or watching an app
  • Looking for documents
  • Eating foods

The above list is not exhaustive, but it describes numerous situations that can cause a driver to lose his or her road focus. 

Is Distracted Driving Against the Law?

Each of the states has laws regarding distracted driving. In Indiana, texting while driving is illegal and can be met with stiff fines. Other distracted driving situations are not illegal, though they can still cause safety hazards. A police officer can target and pull a person over for suspecting that he or she is texting while driving.

The officer can then issue a ticket and require the driver to pay a fine or show up in court to defend the charge. Under certain circumstances, a distracted driver can receive a charge for reckless driving if the distraction has contributed to an accident or death.  

Who’s To Blame in a Distracted Driving Crash?

Each case will be handled on a per-incident basis. Certain types of distracted driving by themselves are not against the law. That means the law will not automatically fault the distracted driver unless he or she does something else. In other words, the driver committed a traffic infraction, such as running a stoplight or speeding.

The other party will still be under the same scrutinization for the incident as the distracted driver. Thus, that person might also be held responsible if he or she violated a traffic law. Some accidents end up having two faulted parties instead of just one. 

What To Do To Prevent Being Distracted While Driving

Most drivers cannot operate a vehicle safely while multi-tasking. The safe thing to do is to pull over to the side of the road when making a phone call or answering a text. Hands-free equipment is also abundant enough to where most people don’t need to use their hands. 

Drivers who wish to converse with their passengers should avoid turning around while driving. It only takes a split second for a distraction to cause a crash, and no conversation is that important. 

Apps should be placed in a voice-operated mode so that drivers can concentrate on the road ahead instead of needing to touch their phones to perform certain acts. 

It would be wise to contact an attorney if you’ve experienced an accident that involved distracted driving. You may be eligible for cash compensation beyond your insurance provider’s terms. A reliable attorney might offer you a free consultation as well. 

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