Distracted Driving Safety & Awareness
Distracted driving has become an increasingly serious problem in recent years. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that approximately 391,000 people are injured in car accidents that are the result of distracted driving every year. Although Nevada, like other states, has taken steps to address this dangerous trend by passing a series of laws aimed at preventing distracted driving, accidents caused by inattention continue to occur at an alarming rate. Fortunately, those who are injured as a result of distracted driving can collect compensation for their losses by filing a claim for damages, so if you sustained an injury in a crash caused by someone else’s negligence and want to learn more about accidents caused by driving distracted in Las Vegas, it is critical to speak with an experienced car accident attorney who can help you seek compensation for your medical bills and property damage.
While most people associate distracted driving with using a phone while operating a vehicle, there are actually a wide range of behaviors that fall under this definition. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are actually three types of distractions, including:
Manual distractions, which require drivers to take their hands off of the wheel, no matter how briefly;
Visual distractions, which involve drivers taking their eyes off of the road; and
Cognitive distractions, which take a driver’s focus off of the act of driving.
Many distractions fall under a single category, but most actually satisfy the definition of multiple types of distractions. Adjusting the GPS or the radio, for instance, takes a driver’s hands off of the wheel, but may also involve looking away from the road. Using cell phones, especially to text, is particularly dangerous because it involves all three types of distraction. One Virginia Tech study even found that texting while driving makes it 2,300 times more likely that a driver will be involved in a car accident if he or she is texting while driving.
Other examples of distracting activities that satisfy the CDC’s definition include:
- Drowsy driving;
- Eating or drinking;
- Listening to loud music;
- Attending to children or pets; and
- Talking to passengers.
Unfortunately, distracted driving is not the only cause of car accidents, as many crashes are caused by drinking in Las Vegas.
The Dangers of Drunk Driving
In Nevada, like the rest of the nation, drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher are considered to be impaired by alcohol. There are exceptions, however, for those who drive commercial vehicles or who are under the age of 21 years old. For example, Nevada’s zero tolerance laws make it illegal for any driver who has not reached the minimum legal drinking age of 21 years old to drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in their system. While the enactment of these types of laws has gone a long way towards preventing drunk driving accidents, millions of people still get behind the wheel while drunk every year, putting anyone else who is on the road at risk.
Fortunately, victims of drunk driving can recover damages from the at-fault driver by filing a civil suit, which is a legal proceeding that is conducted separately from a criminal trial. In most civil cases, injured parties are required to provide evidence that the defendant was negligent in order to collect damages. However, in Nevada, conviction of a crime is considered conclusive evidence of the facts necessary to impose civil liability for a related injury. This means that if an offender was convicted of the crime that resulted in the victim’s injury in criminal court, then the injured party will be considered to have met the burden necessary to demonstrate liability. Nevada law also permits injured parties to sue the drunk driver for punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages, which compensate the plaintiff for lost wages, medical expenses, property damage, and pain and suffering. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are intended to punish the defendant and prevent similar behavior in the future.
Collisions with Bicyclists
Distracted driving and operating a vehicle while intoxicated can lead to serious accidents with not only motorists, but also pedestrians and cyclists. In many of these situations, the at-fault party will claim that he or she just didn’t see the cyclist. Fortunately, this does not excuse the at-fault parties for their negligence or recklessness in causing the collision. In fact, even when cyclists are partially at fault for the accident, they can still collect compensation for some of their losses, but only if they were no more than 50 percent responsible.
Colliding with a cyclist, like any other type of car accident, can occur just about anywhere and at any time. However, there are some causes that are more common than others. For instance, many bicycle accidents are the result of a driver failing to check his or her blind spot before turning or changing lanes. Failing to yield at crosswalks or to stop as directed by a traffic signal are also some of the leading causes of collisions between motorists and cyclists. Unfortunately, the injuries sustained by cyclists in these types of crashes are usually severe, as cyclists are not shielded from impact by air bags and seat belts. Instead, they are forced to absorb the entire force of an impact, which can have devastating consequences, including head trauma, amputation, spinal cord damage, internal bleeding, and crushed or broken bones. Treating these types of catastrophic injuries is not only painful, but expensive, making it especially important for accident victims to retain an attorney as soon as possible after the accident to help them hold the at-fault party responsible.
Get the Legal Representation You Deserve
If you were injured in a collision with a distracted or intoxicated driver, you need the support and guidance of an experienced attorney. Please contact Ladah Law Firm in Las Vegas today to schedule a free consultation with one of the dedicated car accident lawyers at the Ladah Law Firm who can evaluate your case and explain your legal options.