Distracted driving causes thousands of injury auto accidents each year in Central Kentucky and hundreds of fatalities on local roads. Your best protection against injury or death is defensive driving – and knowing your rights under the law.
We’ve all seen scenarios like this when driving the roads of Nelson County: The motorist driving near you is texting, talking on a mobile phone, putting on makeup or shaving while looking in the rearview mirror, eating a burger while driving …. the list of distractions goes on and on. It’s not just alarming. It’s incredibly dangerous.
Studies show more than 53,500 crashes resulting in almost 170 fatalities and more than 14,000 injuries occurred in the state of Kentucky in just one year – all caused by motorists who were driving distracted.
What is the Legal Definition of Distracted Driving In Kentucky?
Kentucky defines distracted driving as “any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving and increases the risk of crashing.”
It’s no surprise that the biggest contributors to distracted driving are mobile phones, with people either talking or texting on these devices. Since 2010 in Kentucky, it’s illegal for drivers of all ages to read, write or send messages while the vehicle they’re driving is in motion, including instant messaging and emailing. If a driver is under 18 years of age, it’s also illegal to talk on a mobile phone or use a personal handheld device while operating a vehicle, both hands free and handheld devices.
What Kind of Driver Distractions Should I Watch Out For On The Road?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines three main types of driver distraction:
- Visual – Taking your eyes off the road
- Manual – Taking your hands off the steering wheel
- Cognitive – Taking your mind off of driving
Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%, according to research by Carnegie Mellon University. Research from the CDC confirms that texting while driving is especially dangerous because this behavior combines all three types of distraction. When you send or read a text message, you take your eyes off the road for approximately five seconds, which is long enough to drive the length of a football field when traveling 55 miles per hour – the legal speed limit on Kentucky’s state highways.
Mobile phones aren’t the only distractions for Kentucky motorists. Others include:
- Talking to other people in the car
- Reaching for something
- Eating or drinking
- Personal grooming
- Changing the radio station or skipping tracks
- Dealing with children
- Wrangling passenger pets
- Any behavior that takes attention away from the main task of driving
When It Comes to Distracted Driving Crashes, Who Is Most at Risk?
Statistics point to young adult and teen drivers as the most at risk for driving distracted, causing crashes and being injured or losing their lives due to accidents involving distracted driving.
- Drivers under the age of 20 have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.
- In 2017, 9% of all teen motor vehicle crash deaths involved distracted driving.
Distracted driving behavior can also cause other unsafe driving behaviors. The CDC’s national Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) monitors health-risk behaviors among high school students, including texting or emailing while driving. YRBSS finds in 2017, 42% of high school students who drove in the past 30 days said they sent a text or email while driving. Students who reported frequent texting while driving were also:
- Less likely to wear a seatbelt
- More likely to ride with a driver who’d been drinking
- More likely to drink and drive
What Should I Do If I’m in a Crash Caused by a Distracted Driver?
Time is of the essence, so contact a car accident lawyer as soon as you can. A distracted driver is legally liable, which means they are responsible for any damages they cause.
- Gather evidence from the accident scene:
- Call 911 to notify police and ask for help
- Let the dispatcher know you are injured, as well as anyone else
- Write down a description of the location
- Never refuse medical attention at the scene. If you aren’t taken to a hospital, be sure to see a doctor the same day
- Take as many photos and/or video as you can, showing any skid marks and any stop signs or lights, etc. that the other driver would have missed while distracted
- Write down witness statements, which can be crucial, especially if the witness saw the driver being distracted before the accident or overhears the driver saying things against their interest, such as, “I was texting my girlfriend.”
- Obtain the police report
Should I Rely on My Insurance to Cover All of My Damages or Medical Expenses?
Not likely. You probably know someone who was in a car accident years ago who is still suffering from an injury sustained in that crash. While insurance could cover immediate expenses, who will cover your medical bills down the line?
Seek the legal assistance of an experienced car accident personal injury attorney with a thorough understanding of Kentucky personal injury laws and an excellent track record of success maximizing damage recovery for people who suffer injury due to a distract driving accident.
Trust McCoy & Sparks – Premier Personal Injury Attorneys of Nelson County
Recognized as Nelson County’s best law firm for over a decade and counting, McCoy & Sparks works to help people in trouble, representing thousands of clients in Central Kentucky with a focus on providing premium service and delivering superior results. Regardless of the type of case, our goal is to develop a strategy that best serves your personal needs, then draw upon our courtroom skills to help you reach the best possible result. We start by getting to know you. Next, we will explain all your options, giving you the pros and cons of each choice so that you will be empowered to make informed decisions. You owe us nothing unless we recover compensation for you. Make the right call to 1-844-4KY-WINS for a risk-free consultation with one of our attorneys today.