When we get into our vehicles to drive to work, home or anywhere else we are going the last thing on our minds is a serious crash. But, motor vehicle accidents resulting in serious injuries are an unfortunate reality. The probability of being hurt in a car crash has increased over the years by the same technology that is supposed to simplify our lives, like cell phones and hands-free technology.
Sure, hands-free technology sounds like it should make things much safer for driving, but, does it? Recent research indicates that hands-free cell phone use in our vehicles is risky driving behavior and could increase the chance of being seriously hurt in a crash.
Distracted Driving is a Major Problem
Long gone are the days where alcohol and speeding are considered the leading contributing factors in fatal and serious injury crashes. Now distracted driving is included in the discussions along with alcohol and speed as the leading causes of serious accidents. Cell phone use while driving has accounted for a huge number of accidents and injuries over the years. In 2010 the National Safety Council estimated that in 2010 well over One-Million crashes involved talking on cell phones. To counter the increase in accidents, many companies have turned to hands-free technology. This hands-free technology in vehicles are supposed to make driving safer, but experts claim that it is still risky behavior.
It is easily understandable how fiddling with a cell phone while driving can increase the risk of a crash. Taking your hands off the steering wheel and eyes of the road to scroll through your phone or type a message will distract a driver from the roadway and other vehicles or pedestrians. Hands-free cell phone use is supposed to be the much safer option. But, the hands-free technology can also result in distracted driving that can cause an accident.
Legislation across the country has focused on trying to decrease the risk of accidents and injuries by banning handheld cellphone use. Massachusetts has banned texting and driving, which would also include the manual dialing of a phone number while driving. Some thought has gone into the dangers of hands-free cell phone use. For instance, Massachusetts has also made it illegal for bus drivers and novice drivers to talk on a hand-held or hands-free device while driving. But, there are currently no laws restricting other motorists from talking on a cell phone or using hands-free technology while driving.
How Hands-Free Cell Phone Use Can Contribute to a Crash
Distracted drivers experience what researchers call inattention blindness. Experts claim that this inattention blindness is very similar to tunnel vision. Brain researchers have identified how hands-free cell phone use had affected focus, attention and reaction-time. The inattention blindness is where a driver is looking where they need to (straight out of the windshield), but not actually seeing the objects in the roadways.
Our vision is the most important sense for driving safely. Using a cell phone or a hands-free cell phone can cause us to experience inattention blindness where we are unable to properly focus and process what’s in the roadway environment. This impacts our abilities to effectively monitor our surroundings, identify dangers and react in a timely manner.
How Hands-Free Technology Can Complicate a Personal Injury Case
If you are seriously injured in a motor vehicle crash in Massachusetts you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, losses and damages. In order to successfully obtain financial compensation, you must prove or establish that the other driver that struck you was negligent. Negligence is the legal standard that determines liability in a car crash. Proving negligence can be complicated in a crash that was caused by a driver distracted by the use of a cell phone or hands-free technology. This is because a driver talking on a cell phone doesn’t obviously appear to be distracted while driving.
For example, there was an accident where a woman was driving while talking on her cell phone. She ran a red light and crashed into a car that was crossing the intersection with a green light. The crash killed a young boy in the other car. Witnesses all explained that the woman, who ran the red light, was looking straight out of her windshield as she talked on her cell phone. Experts and researchers, however, described this incident as a “classic case of inattention blindness.” They opined that the driver, although looking straight ahead, wasn’t able to focus and process the traffic lights and other vehicles.
A personal injury case from a motor vehicle crash can be complex even without the issues created by use of cell phones or hands-free technology. Knowing what to do and what to look for is extremely important in proving negligence. An experienced personal injury attorney will know how to investigate a crash in order to prove the other driver was negligent. As in the example above, even when witnesses state that the other driver was looking straight ahead, if it can be proven that the other driver was on his or her cell phone at the time of the crash, an expert may be able to explain how cell phone use while driving diminishes the cognitive function in order to safely drive.
This is why you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney in Massachusetts after being seriously hurt in a car accident. An accident lawyer will help protect your legal rights and take the necessary investigative and legal steps toward securing the financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. Also, don’t forget, if you have been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver be sure to follow the Three Most Important Steps to Take After a Motor Vehicle Accident. These steps will assist you in your claim for compensation and avoid the many tactics used by insurance companies to deny your claim.
Injured By A Distracted Driver? Speak With An Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
When technology complicates the issues in an injury case, a qualified and experienced personal injury lawyer should be consulted. You should discuss your case with an experienced attorney in order to understand and protect your rights.
Mahaney & Pappas, LLP has well over 40 years of combined experience helping accident victims get the compensation they deserve. If you have questions about an accident case, feel free to contact us online or call us at (508) 879-3500. We are happy to evaluate your case, answer your questions and explain how you can secure the financial compensation you deserve.