If you have been injured by a distracted driver in or around Coeur d’Alene or Post Falls Idaho, contact us today for a free and confidential consultation. Since 1948 CCD Law has represented clients in Spokane Valley and beyond. We are licensed Coeur d’Alene Car Accident Lawyers who are able to work with you and help you recover the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries.
What is distracted driving?
Distracted driving can involve any type of activity which diverts a driver’s attention away from the task of driving safely. Many distractions involve the use of electronics like cellular devices, navigational systems or CD players. Other distractions might be human in nature like eating, smoking, attending to children or even applying makeup while driving.
Careful drivers focus on three tasks
Distracted driving presents a danger to other motorists, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians. When you’re driving a motor vehicle, your brain should be focused on three different tasks. Those are:
- Visual in keeping your eyes on the road
- Manual in keeping both hands on the wheel and correctly using foot pedals
- Cognitive in keeping your mind on the task at hand
A distraction from any one of these tasks increases the risk of a crash and preventable harm to others. If you’re dialing a cell phone or texting, your attention is diverted from all three of them.
National distracted driving statistics
According to the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration, 3,179 people were killed, and 431,000 others were injured across the United States in motor vehicle crashes that were attributed to distracted driving in 2014. Car and Driver recently published the results of its own driving test showing that reading an email or text with a hand-held device at 35 mph can add 36 feet to your reaction time while sending one can double that distance. A more scientific study completed at the Virginia Tech Traffic Institute determined that a driver’s eyes are off the road for an average of five seconds while texting. At 55 mph, that’s sufficient time to travel the length of a football field blindfolded.
Idaho distracted driving statistics
As per the Idaho Transportation Department, there were 5,470 distracted driving crashes in the state in 2015. From those crashes, there were 51 fatalities, 425 serious injuries, 1,285 visible injuries and 2,211 possible injuries. Distracted driving was determined to be the cause of 22.8 percent of all motor vehicle accidents. It was the cause of 23.6 percent of all traffic fatalities and 29.7 percent of all injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes. About 73 percent of all distracted driving crashes occurred on urban roads, and 74 percent of the fatal crashes occurred on rural roads.
Idaho’s texting while driving law
Idaho traffic laws address use of cellular devices while a vehicle is in motion, but they really don’t have any bite to them. Texting and driving with a handheld device is a traffic infraction, but a conviction to the offense isn’t deemed a moving violation for purposes of establishing motor vehicle insurance rates. As of 2016, texting while driving in Idaho is a primary offense. That means that police don’t need to have another offense like speeding to stop you if you’re suspected of texting while driving. The $81.50 fine for the offense isn’t particularly painful either. At this point in time, it’s not against Idaho traffic laws to talk on a handheld cellular phone, but expect a bill prohibiting it to come before the legislature shortly.
The law of negligence
Nearly all lawsuits involving personal injury or wrongful death resulting from motor vehicle crashes are brought under the law of negligence. To show that a distracted driver was negligent, the injured person or family of the decedent must prove that:
- The distracted driver had a duty of ordinary care
- He or she breached that duty
- The breach of that duty caused the claimant’s injuries or family member’s death
- He or she suffered legally recognized damages
Contact an attorney today
We represent clients in Post Falls, Coeur d’Alene, everywhere in Kootenai County and beyond. If you are seeking legal advice, contact us today.