It does not take a team of researchers to understand that distracted driving, caused by cell phone use behind the wheel, is a major threat to all road users and that a disturbingly large percentage of the American population regularly talks, texts, and tweets while they drive.
All it takes is to look left and right at a stoplight. Chances are, one of those drivers is looking down at their phone. However, most Missourians and people throughout the country probably do not have an accurate assessment of just how pervasive the epidemic truly is, and how many crashes and fatalities are caused by distracted technology users.
Researchers Reveal Current Epidemic of Distracted Driving
According to a study conducted by Cambridge Mobile Telematics, 52 percent of crashes are now caused by cell phone use. Of crashes caused by cell phone-using drivers, the average time spent on a device is 135 seconds per trip or just under two and a half minutes. In fact, other studies have shown that drivers spend, on average, three and a half minutes on their phone per hour of driving, as reported by Streets Blog.
That same study reported that drivers with smartphones use them virtually every single time they get behind the wheel, regardless of trip distance. 77 percent of the driving population has a smartphone. In total, researchers estimated that distracted driving with a device occurs during 600 million trips, nationally, every day.
Why Cell Phone Use Is So Dangerous and Irresponsible
Distracted cell phone-using drivers are known to tailgate, speed excessively, brake unnecessarily or too late, have poor cornering abilities, stay motionless at traffic lights that have turned, and have slower reaction times. Moreover, while looking down at the device, they are likely to swerve out of their lane of traffic, hit pedestrians and cyclists, run into a slowing car in front of them, and run red lights.
Distracted driving makes drivers considerably more dangerous in every circumstance by orders of magnitude. Taking one’s eyes away from the road for just two seconds increases the chances of crashing by 24 times. Unfortunately, Missouri is one of the worst states when it comes to distracted driving—drivers spend around 6.5 percent of their driving time texting, sending pictures, using apps, checking emails, and talking on their phones.
Proving that the Driver Who Caused Your Wreck Was Using Their Phone
In many cases, it is necessary to prove that the other driver was on their cell phone leading up to the crash or during the crash. The evidence left on the road in the form of skid marks, eyewitness testimony and the position of the crashed vehicles and debris is usually enough to determine fault. However, in some cases, you may be blamed for contributing to the crash, or for causing it outright.
If you have strong reason to believe that the other driver was on their phone and that this was the cause of the crash, you may need to recover that driver’s phone records. This can be done by having the court issue a subpoena, which is a court-ordered mandate that the cell phone company provide the other driver’s records. These cell phone records, which are created in part by GPS location, may reveal the time of the crash, when and where the cell phone was being used while driving, what the phone was being used for, and calls and texts sent and received by the driver.
A Kansas City Distracted Driving Attorney Can Help
If you were injured in a crash caused by a careless or reckless driver who you suspect or know was using their cell phone, a Kansas City auto accident attorney can help. Call the Krause & Kinsman Law Firm today at 816-399-3356 to schedule a free consultation.
Adam Krause is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Adam Krause has made a career of taking complicated litigation and presenting it in the most elementary terms for a jury of your peers to understand. Learn more about his experience here.