Distracted driving was responsible for 2,994 fatal crashes in 2017 and countless accident-related injuries which impacted not only the victims but also families and friends. Despite an increase in public awareness campaigns, the rate of electronic device use while driving, including texting while driving, continues to contribute to car accidents and related injuries.
The National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) is the only data used to provide nationwide data on driver electronic device use in the United States. In a recent 2019 NOPUS report, no significant decrease was observed for drivers’ visible manipulation of handheld devices in 2017. This means drivers are continuing to use electronic devices behind the wheel.
Learn more below about texting and driving accidents, common driving distractions, Wisconsin’s texting laws, and what to do if you are injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a car accident involving a distracted driver, you could be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and disability from the individual causing the crash.
As with any accident injury case, you should seek the counsel of an experienced car accident lawyer to ensure you are getting the compensation you are entitled to, not a quick cash settlement.
Texting While Driving Accident Statistics
Distracted driving can take on many forms, but texting and driving is often considered the most dangerous.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says drivers who text while driving are the highest percentage of those involved in fatal distracted driving crashes.
- Studies show texting while driving makes you 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident.
Using an electronic device while driving is extremely dangerous because the activity causes all three main types of distraction:
- Manual – taking your hands off the wheel
- Visual – taking your eyes off the road
- Cognitive – taking your mind off of driving
But texting and driving isn’t the only type of distraction that leads to car accidents.
Do you have an injury caused by a distracted driver and want to learn about your legal options? Take two minutes to complete a free case evaluation now, and a lawyer will review your case and contact you directly.
Other Common Distracted Driving Behaviors
In addition to texting and driving, there are a number of other distracting driving behaviors caused by electronic devices that become very dangerous on the road, these include:
- Talking on the phone
- Taking photos or video
- Using a Web-capable smartphone to view travel directions
- Checking emails or calendar appointments
- Surfing the Internet
- Social media engagement
- Manual dialing or to use voice-activated dialing
- Playing handheld games
- Holding phones to converse using Facetime-like applications
- Checking or sending messages via speakerphone
There are several other activities that account for distracted driving as well. Motorists can easily take their eyes off the road while eating, grooming, tending to other passengers such as children or pets, searching for items on or under the seats, floor, dashboard or other compartments, and playing with or adjusting in-vehicle technologies.
Whatever the action may be, if you are not paying attention to traffic conditions, road hazards, and operating your vehicle safely, you are drastically increasing your risk of causing a crash or failing to avoid one.
How to Avoid a Distracted Driving Accident
Your risk of crashing into someone or something greatly increases when you use a cell phone to text or engage with others while operating your vehicle. Follow and share these helpful tips from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to keep a distracted driving death and related accident injury from occurring in your life.
- Commit to driving safely and distraction-free, no matter what
- Turn off your phone, or download an app to prevent incoming and outgoing messages, calls, and notifications while driving; some even send an auto-response back to let people know you’re on the road
- Enlist the help of your passengers to avoid distraction
- As a passenger, speak up if you witness distracted driving
- Pull over safely if you need to address any distraction while driving
- Plan ahead: eat, groom, and organize before OR after your drive to avoid any unforeseen distraction
- Get your loved ones on board, especially teen drivers. Sign a pledge together and hold each other accountable for keeping your focus on driving whenever you’re behind the wheel
Any lapse in attention to driving can create deadly consequences for all road users; distracted drivers will be held accountable for their poor decisions.
Wisconsin Texting While Driving Law
Distracted driving law can vary from state to state. Many states restrict certain types of cell phone use by drivers, including Wisconsin. Handheld device use is against the law in some cases but texting while driving is off limits for ALL drivers in Wisconsin.
- The Wisconsin texting ban is a primary enforcement law and does not allow driving “any motor vehicle while composing or sending an electronic text message or an electronic mail message.”
- Hand-held or hands-free cell phone use while driving is against the law in Wisconsin for any driver with a probationary license or instruction permit, except to report an emergency.
- No driver may use a hand-held, mobile device when driving through a road work zone, or within 500 feet of an emergency or roadside response area, which involves an emergency vehicle giving a visible signal or a tow truck with flashing red lights, except to report an emergency.
Car Accident Lawyers Near You
If you have suffered injuries at the hands of a distracted driver, the attorneys at Murphy & Prachthauser can help. We have successfully handled numerous distracted driving accident cases and practice personal injury law the way it should be – motivated and equipped to do our best for you.
If you have a case you would like to speak to a lawyer about, please contact us for a free case evaluation and get an experienced team of lawyers working on your behalf.
Additional Sources: National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2019, January). Driver electronic device use in 2017 (Traffic Safety Facts Research Note. Report No. DOT HS 812 665). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. AND National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2017, March) Policy Statement and Compiled FAQs on Distracted Driving. Washington, DC.