Over the years, distracted driving has become rampant in Massachusetts and all other states in America. The consequences of distracted driving are very serious and include car crashes that cause fatal and very severe injuries. That is why a national campaign was created to designate April as the Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
This movement is a united effort across the United States to recognize the dangers and consequences of distracted driving. The purpose of this campaign is to educate and encourage drivers everywhere to recognize the dangers of distracted driving with the goal of preventing crashes that cause serious and fatal injuries. Therefore, April is the month to reflect on the choices we make when driving to help keep ourselves, our passengers, and others on the roads and highways safe.
Contact our experienced Framingham accident lawyers if you or a loved one was injured in a car crash with a distracted driver. We offer free legal consultations to answer your questions and explain to you your rights. Feel free to call us at (508) 879-3500 or use our Contact Form.
Statistics Prove Distracted Driving is a Problem
Despite the national efforts to educate drivers and deter distracted driving, crash and injury statistics appear to rise each year. Based upon some of the most recent statistics and reports, the Cambridge Mobile Telematics found that drivers were reportedly thirty percent more distracted in February 2022 than they were in February 2020. They found that this was the worst month for phone distraction in the United States since 2019.
Also, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving is a leading cause of motor vehicle crashes on our nation’s roads. The NHTSA reported that in 2021, distracted driving caused the death of more than 3,500 people across the United States.
What is Being Done to Prevent and Minimize the Dangers of Distracted Driving?
Aside from Distracted Driving Awareness Month, Massachusetts has taken many steps over the years to curb the problem of distracted driving. In 2010, the Safe Driving Laws became effective. This included a law that prohibited texting and driving. Junior operators were banned from using cell phones to text or make phone calls. Other drivers (18 years and older) were banned from texting while driving, but could still pick up cell phones to make or receive calls.
When crashes and injuries continued to rise from distracted driving, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts took further steps toward curbing distracted driving. In 2020 the “Hands-Free” law went into effect. This law prohibits all operators of motor vehicles from using any electronic device, including cell phones, unless the device is used in hands-free mode. The penalties for violating this law depend on the number of prior offenses and range from a monetary fine to completing a distracted driving educational program and an auto insurance surcharge.
These laws have resulted in tens of thousands of citations being issued annually to distracted drivers across the Commonwealth. Only time will tell if this has a positive impact on the persistent problem and consequences of distracted driving.
You can help the efforts too. Over the years, our Framingham injury attorneys have offered many tips for drivers to avoid distractions while driving. Also, if you have junior operators in your household, please share these tips and talk to them about the dangers of distracted driving. The NHTSA research shows that younger drivers (between the ages of 16 and 24) are often the most distracted. The younger generation of drivers are among the first in history to have smart phones for talking, texting, and social media use around the time/age to legally obtain a driver’s license. These young drivers have a lot more distractions at their fingertips than prior generations. These distractions coupled with the inexperience behind the wheel can be a deadly combination.
Steps to Take if You Were Injured in a Crash Caused by a Distracted Driver
In the busy lives we all live, we never expect or anticipate being seriously injured in a car accident. Statistically, however, there is always a risk of being injured in a car crash when we get behind the wheel. Regardless of how careful we are to avoid distracted driving ourselves, we cannot control another driver’s behaviors. When this happens, it’s best to know what to do to be sure you can recover any financial losses you may suffer.
If you were injured in an auto accident in Massachusetts that was caused by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation. A bodily injury claim is the process through which an accident victim may seek monetary compensation for the economic and noneconomic damages suffered in the crash. Although you may be entitled to compensation, the auto insurance companies will do everything they can to either not pay you anything or pay you the very least possible. Follow these initial steps to protect yourself:
Call 911 or the Police: It is important to call the police or 911 after a motor vehicle accident, especially if there are injuries and significant damage to the vehicles. The responding police will investigate and document the accident. This is critical evidence that will be helpful in a bodily injury claim that an injury attorney and the insurance company will rely upon. The police investigation typically consists of speaking with the parties involved, taking photographs, and preparing a Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Crash Police Report. As an example, a woman from Marlborough was injured in a car accident recently and she hired our Framingham car accident lawyers to help her with outstanding medical bills and filing a bodily injury claim. We obtained a copy of the Crash Report, which documented that the other driver admitted to the police that she was distracted because she was changing the radio station in her car. The distraction caused the other driver to collide with the rear of our client’s vehicle. The other driver’s auto insurance company accepted liability for the crash because of this uncontroverted evidence.
Take Photographs & Get Witness Information: Photographs and impartial witnesses are sometimes the most important pieces of evidence in a personal injury claim. People in general rarely want to admit fault. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard or read in police reports that other drivers always point the finger at others for causing a car crash. In a case that our accident lawyers settled, our client was driving in Natick. They slowed down at a crosswalk for pedestrians when another driver crashed into the rear of our client’s vehicle. The other driver told the police that our client came to a sudden and unexpected stop, and they had no time to react. In other words, they blamed our client. The pedestrians that were waiting at the crosswalk were very helpful in disputing the other driver’s claims. Similarly, photographs were a deciding factor in a serious truck accident in Webster, MA. In that crash, the responding police took photographs that were incorporated into their crash report. These photos were used by our expert accident reconstructionist to determine the cause of the crash. It was concluded by engineering standards that the commercial truck was responsible for the accident with the help of pictures of skid marks and damage to the vehicle involved. It is obviously difficult to take photos or get the names and contact information of witnesses if you’ve been seriously hurt in a crash. If possible, try to ask another passenger or the police/EMTs that arrive to take photographs. They can be crucial to a successful injury claim.
Seek Medical Attention Right Away: Sometimes, there is no option but to seek medical attention immediately. If you were severely injured in a car crash, you will most likely be rushed to the emergency room by ambulance. However, some accident victims will delay in seeking medical attention and try to tough it out. I’m guilty of this myself – not in the context of a car crash, but generally going to the doctor. But, if you have been hurt in a car accident that was caused by another negligent or distracted driver, you should see a doctor right away to document the fact that you were hurt. The insurance companies will scrutinize your injury claim and try to find any reason not to pay you or to pay you very little. We see it every day. In fact, in a claim we are handling now, our client was rear-ended on the Massachusetts Turnpike (Mass Pike) near the Newton exits. He hurt his shoulder in the crash. An ambulance arrived, but he refused transport to the hospital. He did not go to a doctor for over a week after the crash. While he told his doctor that he hurt his shoulder in the crash, the other driver’s insurance company is using his delay in seeing a doctor against him.
Our Framingham Accident Attorneys Are Here To Help If You Are Injured by a Distracted Driver
If you are a victim of a car accident in Massachusetts that was caused by a negligent or distracted driver, you have the right to seek financial compensation for the injuries you suffered and your financial losses. Insurance companies, however, almost always challenge personal injury claims, even in crashes that were caused by distracted drivers.
An experienced accident lawyer will be able to evaluate your case and educate you on personal injury claims from car accidents. Being fully informed about the Massachusetts injury claims’ process will help you and your family make the right decisions after a crash as well as protect your legal rights. Our Framingham car accident lawyers offer free case evaluations and will explain how your medical bills and lost wages will be paid and how to go about getting the compensation you deserve for your injuries.