A recent social media post from an area police department, published in the aftermath of a major vehicle crash, counseled readers on the benefits of avoiding speeding, aggressive driving, and driving while distracted. As professionals who work daily with the victims of auto accidents, our San Mateo car accident lawyers know the value of what the police were advocating. Too many times, failure to drive defensively and/or follow the laws and the rules of the road can end in terrible outcomes.
KRON 4 in San Jose covered the story of a recent crash in that city. According to the KRON report, a multi-vehicle crash occurred at around 4:30 pm at an intersection in North San Jose. One vehicle rolled over. The woman who caused the crash was in critical condition with life-threatening injuries, according to the report.
The report had few other details, but the San Jose Police Department’s Twitter feed offers certain additional related commentary. At first, the police’s social feed simply apprised the public of the wreck, its location, and the need for drivers to find alternate routes. A second tweet mentioned the woman’s life-threatening injuries.
Then, in a third tweet, the police posted a photo of the wreck’s aftermath. In the final paragraph, the police counseled that “we all need to work together to prevent these incidents. Slow down be courteous, don’t drive distracted.”
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This, of course, is always good advice. According to a 2018 report published by the Office of Traffic Safety, speeding is a very real (and very harmful) problem on California’s roads and highways. In 2016 (the most recent year for which the report had data,) more than 1,050 people lost their lives in “speeding-related traffic collisions.” That figure represented a 10.7% increase over 2012 when just over 950 people died in similar crashes.
Locally, Alameda County ranked seventh statewide in terms of the most speeding-related crashes that triggered serious injuries or fatalities.
The Prevalence — and Lethality — of the Problem of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is also another significant hazard in California. According to the OTS, 3,142 people died in 2019 due to distracted driving-related crashes. That number represented 8.7% (or more than 1 in 12) of all the traffic deaths nationwide. Statistics show that the average person takes 4.6 seconds to read a text message. At 55mph, a vehicle can cover more than 370 feet (or more than the length of a football field — including end zones) in 4.6 seconds.
Generally, a driver who injured you (or killed your loved one) due to speeding or driving while distracted will be potentially liable under the theory of negligence. In a negligence lawsuit, you have to show that the other driver had a duty toward you (or your loved one), that they failed to fulfill that duty, that this shortcoming caused the accident, and that the accident caused you (or your loved one) to suffer harm.
Sometimes, though, there may be more. If the driver’s conduct behind the wheel was especially extreme (such as a driver going a rate of speed vastly above the posted limit or a driver who disregarded their driving to an outrageous degree to focus all their attention on their electronic device,) then you may be able to argue that they were reckless. A case for recklessness may open the door to additional damages, such as punitive damages.
When you’re injured by a driver who was speeding or driving while distracted, that accident may have turned your world upside down. For helpful answers, experience-driven legal advice, and diligent advocacy of the highest quality in this most trying time, rely on the experienced San Mateo car accident lawyers at Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP. Whether in court or outside court, count on our experienced team to be there when you need us. Contact us at 650-250-0566 or through our website.