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Distracted Driving: Texting While Driving Accidents

texting and driving accidents

Statistically, driving on American roadways is one of the most dangerous things you can do. Yet the majority of us climb behind the wheel without giving it a second thought. 

Not giving it a second thought is also how accidents occur due to drivers being distracted while operating a vehicle. As technology becomes more and more ubiquitous in the driving experience, distracted driving becomes more of an issue on the road.

In this article, we will define what distracted driving looks like and the frequency of texting while driving accidents.

What is Distracted Driving?

driving distracted

Distracted driving is easy to define: It’s performing an activity that takes the attention of a driver away from driving. This could include anything from eating while driving to trying to find the perfect radio station.

As our world and our cars become more and more technologically driven, texting and driving or interacting with on-dash displays is becoming more prevalent on America’s roadways. In a survey, 45% of American drivers admitted to texting while driving with over half of Gen X and Millennials responding that they text and drive.

How Big a Problem is Distracted Driving?

distracted driving fatalities

In the United States, an average of 3,000 people die every year due to distracted driving or a texting and driving accident. That’s about 9 people every day. The National Traffic Safety Commission reports that 13% of all car accidents were caused by distraction due to cell phone use.

Those national figures are reflected in Kentucky, too. In 2021, 39,555 car accidents on Kentucky’s roads were due to distracted driving contributing to the loss of 134 lives.

If you’re a Kentuckian or driving through the Bluegrass State, it’s important to know what you can and cannot legally do on the roadway to safeguard against distracted driving. 

Kentucky laws state:

  • Texting and driving for all drivers is banned while the car is in motion.
  • Only drivers 18 and over can use a navigation device and use their phone for making calls while driving.
  • Drivers under 18 are banned from using any personal communication devices while driving.
  • Exemptions to the above are made only in the case of an emergency where the driver needs to contact a public safety agency for help.
  • Drivers are permitted to use a navigation device integrated into their vehicle, but drivers under 18 cannot manually enter information into the device while the car is in motion.
  • Operators of an emergency or public safety vehicle may use communication devices while driving when conducting official duties

Ways You Can Make Sure Your Focus is on the Road

Preventing yourself from being distracted while driving only takes a few good habits. While some laws give leeway to drivers when it comes to using devices while driving, just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s in your or your passengers’ best interest.

You can prevent a distracted driving or text and drive accident by:

  1. Using your cell phone in emergencies only. Any social calls or texts can wait until you’ve safely arrived at your destination. If you have an emergency and must use your cell, it’s best practice to pull over to the side of the road to do.
  2. Getting everything settled before you start driving. You might think you are good at multitasking, but when driving, that should be your only task. Make any calls or texts, find the perfect playlist on the stereo, and check your email before getting into the car.
  3. Not eating and driving. We live in a go, go, go society, but eating and driving is dangerous and not a time saver. Spilling food in the car is a common way to be involved in an accident, so finish your breakfast before you leave your house.
  4. Limiting your passengers. There’s a reason most states have graduated license programs for teenagers that limit the number of passengers allowed in their cars depending on their driving experience. Even the most seasoned of drivers can be distracted by paying more attention to their friends than the road.
  5. Using your tools. The temptation to use cell phones is huge while driving. That’s why many phones and car systems have tools you can use to eliminate the temptation. Use tools such as text blocking, voice commands, and talking navigation systems to keep your eyes on the road and not on your devices.

What Should You Do if You’re in a Kentucky Distracted Driving Accident?

The most important thing to know is that the Commonwealth is a “no-fault” state when it comes to accidents. That means that despite who is at fault, any victim will have to turn to their insurance company to receive medical benefits, recover lost wages, or be compensated for out-of-pocket expenses due to injury in the accident.

If you meet certain criteria as the victim of a distracted driving accident, you can step outside of the no-fault system and make a third-party claim against the person who was at fault. This claim can be filed if the following is true:

  • Medical expenses for injuries incurred exceeded $1,000
  • You suffered a significant fracture, permanent disfigurement, permanent injury, or permanent loss of an organ or body function

If these terms are met, you are eligible to use the courts to receive compensation for lost wages, medical care, and pain and suffering. This is when hiring an experienced car accident attorney is in your best interest.
If you are the victim of a distracted driving accident, it can be overwhelming to concentrate on navigating the legal system while healing from your injuries. The lawyers of McCoy & Sparks can make this process easier for you with our years of expertise in fighting for clients who suffer injuries from Kentucky car accidents. Contact us today or call us at 844-459-9467 and let us help you get the compensation you’re entitled to.