In Massachusetts and throughout the United States, the amount of attention that distracted driving receives is designed to educate drivers as to its danger and stop them from doing it. In addition, there are laws on the books that penalize drivers who are using a handheld device while driving. Despite that, the problem persists.
The inherent dangers of distracted driving are known. Simply removing one’s eyes from the road for a few seconds can cause an accident. Drivers might cross into the opposite lanes, miss a traffic sign, ignore a stop light or fail to see a pedestrian. When there is a collision, catastrophic injuries and death can occur. With that, it is imperative that people who have been hurt or lost a loved one in an auto accident know whether it was due to distraction.
Law enforcement and investigative journalists highlight distracted driving
Local journalists have reported that distracted driving seems to be a continuing problem on Massachusetts roads. Statistics back up this anecdotal evidence. One entity, AAA, reported that 40% of drivers stated they used their device to send emails and text messages when they were driving. The likelihood is that many people are also doing it and are not admitting to the practice.
In Massachusetts, the law against using a handheld electronic device has been in effect since late February of 2020. Drivers who are caught will face escalating fines. They will pay $100 for a first offense; $250 for a second offense with the requirement to take part in an education program about the dangers of distracted driving; and a $500 fine for a third offense with other financial penalties. Technically, drivers cannot even touch the device when they are driving, let alone hold it. For those under 18, they cannot use the device in any way.
Law enforcement has been citing drivers for violating this law. In 2021, 32,000 were given a written warning. As for tickets, there were nearly 7,900 in 2020 and more than 12,800 in 2021. At the most recent count in 2022, there had been nearly 12,900. Lawmakers want there to be greater vigilance about stopping distracted drivers so they are dissuaded from the practice and it will potentially prevent some crashes.
People injured in distracted driving accidents should weigh their options
After an auto accident, people are likely to be worried about their future in every conceivable way. That includes financially, professionally, personally and emotionally. Seeking help that will understand what they are facing and provide tailored assistance based on their individual needs is key. For example, a person who cannot travel for a consultation may require a visit to their home or to the hospital.
From the beginning, the entire case must be scrutinized to determine an effective strategy. With distracted driving accidents, there will be evidence that a driver was not paying attention to what they were doing from the way the accident happened to their phone data and other investigative procedures.
This type of accident can impact anyone, whether it is a young person who is new to the road and is suddenly in a collision with a distracted driver to an older person who is experienced and follows all the rules only to be rear-ended by someone staring at their device.
For these situations, having support that understands the victim’s plight is essential. Insurance companies may try to offer a settlement to avoid costly litigation. This may sound like a reasonable amount, but when it is fully calculated, it is woefully lacking. When there has been an auto accident and distracted driving is suspected, consulting with caring professionals can make the difference in receiving sufficient compensation.