Research shows that one of the greatest dangers a pedestrian can face is an inattentive or distracted driver. According to the CDC, sending or reading a text message while driving at 55 mph is like "driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed." If you or a loved one has been hurt as a result of a distracted or inattentive driver, you may be entitled to substantial compensation, so you should get in touch with an experienced Santa Barbara pedestrian accident lawyer to find out what legal option is best for you and your family.
Distracted driving might sound like an innocuous form of negligent driving, but the reality is that it can be as dangerous as driving drunk. Research has shown that both distracted driving and drunk driving can affect drivers in similar ways. Both may cause a driver to drift out of her lane, both may cause a driver to experience delayed response times (including delayed braking,) and both may make a driver less likely to see a pedestrian in a crosswalk or on the side of a road.
In mid-October, another pedestrian died in our area as a result of an inattentive driver. This time, the location was Thousand Oaks. The pedestrian was a 65-year-old man who was walking along a bicycle lane. A 16-year-old girl headed eastbound drove her vehicle off the road and into the pedestrian, according to authorities. The teen's vehicle subsequently continued onward, slamming into a parked utility truck, according to authorities.
Law enforcement officers did not suspect that the teen had consumed drugs or was drunk, but stated that the crash may have been the result of "possible inattention." When one hears "inattentive driving" or "distracted driving," they often think right away of someone focusing on a smartphone or other electronic device. Undeniably, this is one common form of distraction, but it is not the only one.
The Many Forms of Distractions
Electronic devices represent one form of "visual distraction" that can render a driver insufficiently attentive. Anything that takes your eyes off the road -- whether it's a new text message, a beautiful classic convertible beside you, or an animal in the median -- is something that represents a visual distraction.
Cognitive distractions are things that, even if they don't take your eyes off the road, take your mind off your driving. Whether it's deciding what to eat for lunch or worrying about the results of that medical exam you just underwent, cognitive distractions are just as dangerous as visual ones.
Additionally, there are manual distractions. These are things that, as the name implies, involve your hands doing something other than driving. In other words, these are the multi-taskers: those who eat while driving, do their hair, makeup, or shave while driving, read a newspaper or business documents while driving, or try to recover a dropped item while driving. As should be obvious, this is one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving.
A skilled legal team can provide essential aid to you as the victim of a distracted or inattentive driver. If the distraction was a cellular device, your legal team can take the steps necessary to seek disclosure of the driver's wireless service records, which may establish that he/she was on his/her device at the time of the crash. Additionally, your legal team can pursue all forms of video footage depicting the accident.
All distractions to driving -- whether they take your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road or your mind off the proper task at hand -- are dangerous. If you've been hurt by an insufficiently attentive driver, the Santa Barbara personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP are here to help. We keenly understand the unique dangers pedestrians face, and what it means to get fair compensation for pedestrian injuries. Contact us at 805-617-1365 or through our website to get a free case consultation today.