Distracted Driving Accidents & Victims’ Rights
Pursue Compensation with a New York City Car Accident Lawyer; Serving the Bronx, Queens & All of NYC
Distracted driving has become a leading cause of car accidents across the country, causing thousands of preventable accidents, injuries, and deaths nationwide each year. Because distracted driving is dangerous, negligent, and illegal, victims who are injured in distracted driving accidents have every right to hold at-fault drivers accountable and recover the financial compensation they need for damages that include:
- Medical bills (past and future)
- Lost work wages/lost earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Whatever your damages may be, you can put yourself in the best position to recover the full compensation you are entitled to by working with proven drunk driving accident attorneys in NYC. At Koenigsberg & Associates Law Offices, our New York City distracted driving lawyers have helped thousands of accident victims recover the money they rightfully deserved.
Call us today to learn how we can help you: (718) 690-3132
New York Driver Distraction Laws
A total of 46 states—in addition to the District of Columbia and certain U.S. territories—enforce laws that ban drivers from text messaging on the road.
In New York, the laws against distracted driving are clear:
- Ban on hand-held devices for drivers of all ages
- Ban on text messaging for drivers of all ages
These strict bans on using cellphones and texting behind the wheel are primary laws. This means authorities can ticket drivers solely for using a phone or texting while driving. In some states, officers need to witness another offense or violation before citing drivers for distracted driving violations.
How Common Is Distracted Driving?
A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that more than 84% of drivers find texting and driving, as well as other cellphone use behind the wheel, “unacceptable.” Yet, the study found that 36% of those same drivers admitted to reading, writing, and/or sending texts or emails while driving in the past month.
It is clear that, despite the known dangers and various laws prohibiting it, many drivers do not take distracted driving seriously, especially when it comes to texting, emailing, and using cellphones while driving.
According to End Distracted Driving (EndDD):
- Of the 36,096 traffic accident fatalities that occurred in the U.S. in 2019, 7% involved distracted and inattentive drivers
- In 2019, more than 3,100 Americans lost their lives in distracted driving-related crashes, representing a 9.9% increase from the previous year
- Distracted driving is significantly underreported; an estimated 27% of all car accidents in the U.S. in 2015 likely involved cellphone use behind the wheel
- Teens between the ages of 15 and 19 are more likely to be distracted while driving than motorists over the age of 20 when it comes to fatal accidents
- More than 58% of fatal motor vehicle accidents involving teenagers can be attributed to distracted driving
- Approximately 1 in 5 people (20%) who died in distracted driving-related crashes in 2018 were not occupants of vehicles
Another notable finding by the University of Utah indicates that people who drive while distracted are equally as impaired as those who drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%. In other words, distracted drivers are as dangerous as drunk drivers.
Why Is Distracted Driving So Dangerous?
Our lawyers investigate and evaluate crashes carefully in order to illustrate clear fault and liability. With distracted drivers, this involves proving that the driver was distracted at the time of the crash despite knowing that distracted driving greatly increases one’s risk for accidents.
This is because distracted driving diverts a motorists’ attention away from driving in multiple ways:
- Manual Attention – Using a phone or text messaging often results in a driver taking one or both hands off the wheel. This can create limit their ability to not only steer the car safety but also respond quickly to potential hazards.
- Visual Attention – Taking your eyes off the road can be deadly. According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, taking your eyes off the road while using a phone for just 5 seconds while traveling at 55 mph is equivalent to traveling the length of a football field blindfolded.
- Cognitive Attention – Taking your mind off the road for any length of time can end disastrously, especially when traveling at high speeds or in congested traffic. Thinking about the message you’re writing or conversation you’re having increases the risk of crashing.
Is Texting While Driving the Only Type of Driving Distraction?
Although texting and/or cellphone use behind the wheel is one of the most common—and most discussed—forms of distracted driving, it is far from the only one. In fact, any activity or conduct that takes a driver’s attention and focus off the road is considered a driving distraction.
Some examples of driving distractions other than texting while driving include:
- Using a handheld cellphone make or receive a call
- Dialing a phone number
- Inputting directions into a GPS or navigational system
- Looking at a GPS or navigational system
- Using a handheld device or GPS system to check traffic
- Reading, scrolling, or posting to social media
- Using the internet, watching YouTube videos, etc.
- Taking pictures or videos on a cellphone or handheld device
- Playing games on a cellphone or handheld device
- Adjusting vehicle controls, such as the radio or temperature
- Looking for or changing music on a cellphone, iPod, or similar handheld device
- Attending to children or pets in the vehicle
- Talking to passengers
- Eating or drinking (including non-alcoholic drinks)
- Personal grooming, such as fixing hair, shaving, brushing teeth, or applying makeup
- Using car mirrors or interior lights
- Reading billboards, looking at accidents (“rubbernecking”), etc.
- Reaching for an item that has fallen to the floor of the vehicle or under a seat
When operating a motor vehicle, the driver’s sole focus should be on the road. Unfortunately, many motorists do not actively recognize the responsibility that comes with driving and frequently engage in all types of distracted driving behaviors. This can—and does—lead to devastating crashes and fatal accidents across New York City.
Is Distracted Driving Considered Negligence?
Because drivers have a responsibility to act reasonably and take care to avoid causing accidents that might injure or kill others, driving while distracted is considered negligence. Victims of negligence have legal options, including the right to file accident claims and seek fair compensation for their damages after crashes caused by distracted drivers.
New York is a no-fault state, which means most accident victims can recover monetary compensation for specific losses, such as medical expenses and lost wages, after motor vehicle collisions by filing claims with their own insurance providers. To file a personal injury protection (PIP) claim, you do not need to prove that the other driver was negligent or acted wrongfully. However, PIP coverage is limited, and you may need to step outside the no-fault system to recover compensation for all your damages, including non-economic losses.
To bring a lawsuit against a distracted driver, you will need to prove that the other driver acted negligently (i.e., drove while distracted) and that this was the direct or proximate cause of your injuries. You will also need to prove that your injuries meet the state’s “serious injury threshold” criteria.
Our New York City distracted driving accident attorneys can help you understand your legal rights and options following a crash with a distracted driver. We can assess whether you have grounds to file a lawsuit against the distracted driver and will provide the personalized support and guidance you need.
Distracted Driving Accidents Involving Pedestrians & Bicyclists
Millions of people walk and cycle in New York City every day. These individuals are at risk any time they share the road with distracted drivers—and the consequences are often devastating. Pedestrians and bicyclists are far more likely to be catastrophically injured or killed than other motorists when they are hit by large, heavy, fast-moving vehicles.
Unfortunately, distracted driving is a major problem in New York City, where the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee has reported distracted driving as the leading factor in all motor vehicle accidents. New York City is also known as one of the most dangerous states for pedestrians and cyclists, with the number of people on foot and on bicycles who are killed in collisions with cars and other motor vehicles climbing every year.
If you or someone you love was hit by a distracted driver as a pedestrian or while riding a bike, Koenigsberg & Associates Law Offices can help. Our car accident attorneys handle complex distracted driving claims, including cases involving injured and killed pedestrians and bicyclists. We have assisted victims of hit-and-runs, texting drivers, inattentive commercial vehicle operators, rideshare drivers, and more. We are here to assist with every detail of your case so that you can focus on healing and getting back on your feet.
Injured by a Distracted Driver? Speak with a New York City Distracted Driving Accident Attorney Today!
Koenigsberg & Associates Law Offices has recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of victims injured by the negligence of others, including drivers who were texting or distracted. If you have questions about your legal rights and how our injury lawyers can help you take the next steps toward the compensation you deserve, our firm is ready to help.