Most Common Car Accident Causes
Common Causes of Car Accidents
What are the common causes of car accidents? Sessions & Fleischman understands the complexities that come from different car accidents and the steps that need to be taken in order to get you the best results for your case.
COMMON CAUSES OF CAR ACCIDENTS
- Reckless Driving
- Aggressive Driving
- Following Too Closely
- Distracted Driving
- Drunk Driving
- Dangerous Driving Actions
- Inclement Weather Conditions
TYPES OF ACCIDENTS
- Multi-Vehicle Accidents
- Head-On Car Accident
- Rear-End Accidents
- Motorcyclist Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Pedestrian-involved Accidents
- Single-vehicle Accidents
- Hit-and-Run Accidents
- Highway accidents on I-20, I-675, I-285, I-16, I-75, I-475, I-85
Distracted Driver Accidents
If you or someone that you care about was hurt in an accident caused by a distracted or texting driver, a distracted driving accident lawyer at Sessions & Fleischman can help you obtain the compensation that you deserve. Many people mistakenly believe that people can perform several complex tasks well. This is simply not true, and there is probably no more dangerous example than that created by drivers that attempt to text or perform other tasks while driving. All distractions compromise a driver’s ability to some extent and threaten the safety of themselves, other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians along the roadway.
Car Accident Caused by a Cell Phone
The majority of drivers today have been warned or at least made aware of the dangers of texting and driving, yet the odds of a person being in a car with a driver who is texting and driving still remain high. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), texting and other distracted driving practices caused 3,477 deaths in 2015.
What is considered distracted driving? Distracted driving is any action that takes the driver’s focus away from driving a vehicle safely. Examples of distracted driving include eating and drinking, putting on make-up, and even adjusting the radio volume. While these examples of distracted driving are dangerous in their own way, texting while driving has quickly become the main cause of most distracted driving accidents. With the exponential rise in smart-phone ownership, text message use has gained mainstream popularity and has even replaced many voice conversations on the phone, especially among young adults and teenagers. A large amount of drivers underestimate the effects of texting and driving. According to the NHTSA, sending or reading a text will take about five seconds, and if you are traveling at 55 mph you will go the entire length of a football field without having your eyes on the road.
The consequences of texting and driving can range from receiving a traffic citation to being the cause of a fatal accident. In 2015, while driving under the influence of alcohol and illegal substances, a Pennsylvania man was texting while driving and struck and killed a sixty-six year old pedestrian. He received a sentence of thirteen to twenty-six years in prison, and his recent appeal for a lesser sentence has been denied. Because of accidents like this and many others, Pennsylvania has now proposed legislation that will increase the penalties for those convicted of vehicular homicide who were texting while driving. As states begin to pass harsher laws for distracted drivers who cause harmful and fatal accidents, rethink the next time you reach for your phone while driving- it might save your life.
If you were hurt in a car wreck caused by a driver that was distracted by a cellphone, that injury lawyers at Sessions & Fleischman can help. Contact our office today for a free consultation
What Is Distracted Driving and Why Is It so Dangerous?
Distracted driving is commonly defined as when a driver’s attention is diverted away from driving by a secondary task that requires focusing on an object, event, or person not related to the driving task. The driver of a vehicle must perform several tasks very well in order to safely operate the vehicle. Unfortunately, in addition to the tasks that a driver must perform which directly relates to the safe operation of the vehicle, many drivers attempt to perform additional tasks that distract from their ability to focus upon the task of operating the car, truck, or commercial vehicle safely. This is the heart of an accident caused by distracted driving.
The federal government and, particularly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has performed extensive studies upon the dangers of distracted driving. Although the problem only seems to be growing, the federal government and NHTSA have also been engaging in an extensive marketing effort to suppress the dangers of distracted driving.
Some tasks are a greater distraction to a driver’s ability to focus upon driving than others. Reaching for something or attempting to use a phone are greater distractions from the more complex and important task of driving a vehicle safely. That is why cell phone usage poses a greater crash risk than eating, talking to a passenger, drinking (a non-alcoholic drink), or smoking. It is estimated that nearly one-third of all U.S. drivers 18 to 64 years old read or send text or email messages while driving, and using a cell phone to text or email messages while driving leads to more than 420,000 injuries and more than 3,100 deaths every year in the United States. Every time a driver adjusts a radio, tends to an irritable child, adjusts air conditioning or heating, applies make up, shaves, talks to passengers, eats, or reads a map (paper or electronic), the driver is engaging in a distracting task or activity. When drivers think about things other than driving, for example, an argument with a spouse/significant other or financial problems, they can become distracted from the task of driving.
What Does the Data Say About how Dangerous Texting While Driving Is?
The increased use of electronic devices by drivers has brought new awareness to the problem of distracted driving. Research continues to demonstrate the dangers of driving while using a cell phone and texting. According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), in 2017, 3,166 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes with distracted drivers. Studies have shown the overall crash risk increases 3.6 times over model driving when a driver interacts with a handheld device. In 2014, there were 3,179 people killed and 431,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
WHY IS TEXTING WHILE DRIVING SO DANGEROUS AND SUCH A DISTRACTION TO THE ABILITY TO DRIVE SAFELY?
Using a cell phone to send text messages while driving is one of the most dangerous distractions possible to safe operation of a car, truck, or commercial vehicle. Use of a cell phone overlaps with the visual, manual, and cognitive areas. The visual distraction is a result of the driver staring at the cell phone rather than at the road, the manual distraction is a result of the driver manipulating the texting function of the cell phone, while the cognitive distraction is a result of the focus of attention in reading and composing a text response to messages. When an activity crosses into two or three of these domains, it is especially dangerous. At 55 mph, taking your eye off the road for 5 seconds to read or send a text would be like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed. The task of driving requires full attention to be performed safely.
Georgia Texting and Driving Accident Lawyer
Were you hurt or someone that you care about killed in an texting and driving accident? Despite efforts to raise awareness of the dangers of texting and driving, an accident caused by drivers distracted by texting and driving remains prevalent:
- Nine percent of fatal crashes in 2017 were reported as distraction-affected crashes.
- In 2017 there were 3,166 people killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
- Six percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. Eight percent of drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the fatal crashes.
- In 2017 there were 599 nonoccupants (pedestrians, bicyclists, and others) killed in distraction-affected crashes.
The increase in cell phone demand has led to concern that cell phone use while driving increases accidents. Risk associated with calling while driving has been widely discussed in the media, and has been investigated by governmental agencies. Previous studies estimate that cell phone use in vehicles may cause anywhere from 10 to 1,000 fatalities per year in the United States and a great many more non-fatal accidents. The regulation of cell phones while driving has become a significant policy issue. California, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., dozens of municipal governments in the U.S., much of Europe, and many other countries worldwide have banned the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. Many other bans are being considered. Most proposed legislation would ban the use of hand-held cell phones while driving while allowing the use of phones with hands-free devices.
Georgia’s Texting and Driving Law and What It Limits
While operating a motor vehicle on any highway of this state, no individual shall:
(1) Physically hold or support, with any part of his or her body a:
(A) Wireless telecommunications device, provided that such exclusion shall not prohibit the use of an earpiece, headphone device, or device worn on a wrist to conduct a voice based communication; or
(B) Stand-alone electronic device;
(2) Write, send, or read any text based communication, including but not limited to a text message, instant message, e-mail, or Internet data on a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device; provided, however, that such prohibition shall not apply to:
(A) A voice based communication which is automatically converted by such device to be sent as a message in a written form; or
(B) The use of such device for navigation of such vehicle or for global positioning system purposes;
(3) Watch a video or movie on a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device other than watching data related to the navigation of such vehicle; or
(4) Record or broadcast a video on a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device; provided that such prohibition shall not apply to electronic devices used for the sole purpose of continuously recording or broadcasting video within or outside of the motor vehicle.
O.C.G.A. § 40-6-241.
Georgia’s Texting and Driving Law for Commercial Drivers
While operating a commercial motor vehicle on any highway of this state, no individual shall:
(1) Use more than a single button on a wireless telecommunications device to initiate or terminate a voice communication; or
(2) Reach for a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device in such a manner that requires the driver to no longer be:
(A) In a seated driving position; or
(B) Properly restrained by a safety belt.
O.C.G.A. § 40-6-241.
Drunk Driver Accidents
If you or a loved one have been hurt by a drunk driver, the injury attorneys at Sessions & Fleischman can help you get the compensation you deserve and punish the drunk driver for the needless (and completely preventable) injury you have suffered. An experienced drunk driving accident lawyer at Sessions & Fleischman will work to get you the compensation that you deserve if you have been injured by a DUI driver.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost 30 people die in drunk driving crashes every day, and drunk driving crashes claim about 10,000 lives per year. Along with this, billions of dollars in personal and public damages are caused. If you have been in an accident caused by the recklessness of another person, let a drunk driving accident lawyer at Sessions & Fleischman help you obtain the compensation you deserve. We understand how to present these cases and maximize your recovery following a DUI accident.
How Big Is the Drunk Driving Accident Problem?
The problem of drunk driving arose almost as soon as motor vehicles came into use. See J. Jacobs, Drunk Driving: An American Dilemma 57 (1989) (Jacobs). New Jersey enacted what was perhaps the Nation’s first drunk driving law in 1906, 1906 N. J. Laws pp. 186, 196, and other States soon followed. These early laws made it illegal to drive while intoxicated but did not provide a statistical definition of intoxication. As a result, prosecutors normally had to present testimony that the defendant was showing outward signs of intoxication, like imbalance or slurred speech. R. Donigan, Chemical Tests and the Law 2 (1966) (Donigan). As one early case put it, “[t]he effects resulting from the drinking of intoxicating liquors are manifested in various ways, and before any one can be shown to be under the influence of intoxicating liquor it is necessary for some witness to prove that some one or more of these effects were perceptible to him.” State v. Noble, 119 Ore. 674, 677, 250 P. 833, 834 (1926). The 1930’s saw a continued rise in the number of motor vehicles on the roads, an end to Prohibition, and not coincidentally an increased interest in combating the growing problem of drunk driving. Jones, Measuring Alcohol in Blood and Breath for Forensic Purposes—A Historical Review, 8 For. Sci. Rev. 13, 20, 33 (1996) (Jones).
Birchfield v. North Dakota, 579 U.S. ___ (2016).
That quote from a recent United States Supreme Court case presents, at least in part, a historical perspective of the battle against car accidents, injuries, and fatalities resulting from drunk driving. Culturally, our acceptance of drinking and driving has changed dramatically; however, we still have to deal with an extremely high number of these incidents. We call them incidents, as opposed to accidents because alcohol-related incidents that result in injuries and deaths are anything but accidents.
Are Drunk Driving Accidents Increasing?
The overall trend in driving under the influence, DUI-alcohol, and DUI-drug related automobile crashes and fatalities is positive. Overall, the numbers show that alcohol- and drug-related fatalities resulting from car accidents has dropped slightly in 2018 by approximately 3.6% as compared to 2017. However, the total number of fatalities resulting from drunk- and drugged driving continues to remain staggeringly high. In 2018, the overall number of deaths caused as a result of drunk- and drugged drivers was approximately 10,511 – that’s a decrease of 397 alcohol and drug-related deaths as a result of driving from 2017. The total number of fatalities in automobile accidents was approximately 36,564 during 2018.
One of the really alarming pieces of data that comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that the overall number of pedestrian- and bicycle-related deaths as a result of drunk and drugged drivers has increased by about 2.2% during 2018.
How does alcohol make a driver more dangerous?
The Effects of Blood Alcohol Concentration
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has performed extensive studies on the impact of alcohol on a driver’s ability to control themselves and vehicles after consuming alcohol:
|BLOOD ALCOHOL CONCENTRATION (BAC) IN G/DL||TYPICAL EFFECTS||PREDICTABLE EFFECTS ON DRIVING|
|.02||Some loss of judgment; relaxation, slight body warmth, altered mood||Decline in visual functions (rapid tracking of a moving target), decline in ability to perform two tasks at the same time (divided attention)|
|.05||Exaggerated behavior, may have loss of small-muscle control (e.g., focusing your eyes), impaired judgment, usually good feeling, lowered alertness, release of inhibition||Reduced coordination, reduced ability to track moving objects, difficulty steering, reduced response to emergency driving situations|
|.08||Muscle coordination becomes poor (e.g., balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and hearing), harder to detect danger; judgment, self-control, reasoning, and memory are impaired||Concentration, short-term memory loss, speed control, reduced information processing capability (e.g., signal detection, visual search), impaired perception|
|.10||Clear deterioration of reaction time and control, slurred speech, poor coordination, and slowed thinking||Reduced ability to maintain lane position and brake appropriately|
|.15||Far less muscle control than normal, vomiting may occur (unless this level is reached slowly or a person has developed a tolerance for alcohol), major loss of balance||Substantial impairment in vehicle control, attention to driving task, and in necessary visual and auditory information processing|
FAQs About Drunk-Driving Accident
- Can a drunk driver be held responsible even if there is no blood-alcohol content or breath-alcohol content (BAC) test? Yes, a drunk driver can be held responsible for their careless/reckless actions by showing that they were impaired in their ability to drive a motor vehicle was under the influence of or impaired as a result of alcohol or drugs even when we do not know with certainty their blood alcohol level or blood alcohol concentration. The blood-alcohol level helps prove DUI per se under Georgia law, but it is not necessary to show impairment of the person’s balance, reaction time, physical ability to control a vehicle, etc. An experienced DUI accident lawyer understands that there are multiple pieces of evidence that we can rely upon to show impairment.
- Am I entitled to compensation beyond my medical bills if I have suffered a personal injury as a result of a drunk driver? Yes, accident victims injured as a result of a drunk driver may recover punitive damages in addition to customary items of damages.
- Can the social host or business that served the drunk driver prior to the accident be held responsible? Georgia’s DRAM shop law that allows the establishment that serves a person prior to driving while intoxicated is very restrictive, but it is applicable to some cases. During your free case evaluation we will discuss this possibility and other legal options that you may have. Insurance coverage and “layers” of liability can be complex in drunk driving accident cases. Our personal injury attorneys can help you navigate these tricky issues.
- Is an intoxicated driver always at fault for causing a car crash? No, it is still our duty under the law to show that the DWI driver caused the accident through some negligent accident.
- The drunk driver was punished criminally and sentenced to jail time. Can they still be sued and held civilly responsible? Yes, if you are the victim of a drunk driving accident or if a loved one suffered a wrongful death as a result drunk driving, you may pursue damages beyond the penalties imposed in the criminal case as a result of criminal charges through a personal injury case and personal injury lawsuit. Generally, damages in the civil injury case are paid by an insurer.
- Can I recover punitive damages for property damage suffered in accident case with a driver that is under the influence of alcohol or drugs? Yes, punitive damages are recoverable solely for property damages – even if you have no personal injury claim.
- Can an insurance company refuse to provide insurance coverage for an injury claim arising from a drunk driving accident? No, under Georgia law, an insurer cannot complete refuse coverage for to an injury victim based upon a DUI exclusion of coverage.
An Injury or Death Caused by An Impaired Driver Is a Completely Preventable Event. A Drunk Driver Deserves to Be Punished for The Life-Altering Effects of Their Decision.
A person that drives a vehicle after having consumed alcohol consciously places the safety and lives of others at risk, and they deserve to pay for that needless risk and the damages that they cause others to suffer. The drunk driving accident attorneys at Sessions & Fleischman know alcohol-related incidents as well as anyone in Georgia. You will not find a lawyer that understands the evidence and science related to drunk driving cases better than Ben Sessions, and we utilize that very specialized knowledge to help maximize the recovery that our clients seek after a drunk-driving crash. If you or someone that you love has been hurt by a drunk driver and you want a lawyer that will fight to help you obtain the recovery you deserve, call us.
In considering drunk driving accidents that we also consider the dangers of drowsy driving which go hand-in-hand with drunk accidents.
If You Have Been Hurt by A Drunk Driver, Our Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Can Help You.
Auto accidents involving drunk drivers and drivers charged with DUI present unique evidentiary and insurance issues. Our car accident lawyers are experienced in representing clients in these cases. You will be hard-pressed to find an attorney with more experience litigating alcohol-related issues, drunk driving cases, and drunk driving cases involving serious injuries or fatalities. Allow a personal injury lawyer at Sessions & Fleischman to put that experience to work for you.
Contact us today for a free consultation.
Disclaimer: This website is presented for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you or a family member has been injured by a drunk driver, contact our office today to schedule a free consultation. Victims of DUI-related motor vehicle accident will never pay legal fees out of their pockets: we handle these cases strictly on a contingency-fee basis.