Distracted driving-related motor vehicle accidents are growing in number.
In 2014 alone, more than 3,179 people were killed and there were 431,000 injuries related to distracted driving incidents on United States roads.
It is not just texting and talking on phones that cause these accidents, either. In fact, Distraction.gov highlights that eating and drinking are notable and severe distractions that most drivers are unaware of.
Studies Show the Dangers of Eating and Driving
A personal injury lawyer in Gilbert, Arizona may come across a distracted driving case where a driver eating injured their client.
While some may think there is no way eating or drinking is a distraction, according to AutoInsurance.org, 70 percent of drivers sometimes have a meal while on the road.
Numerous studies have been done on the topic, and now there is scientific evidence that eating and driving significantly increases a person’s risk of causing an accident. While the numbers are not as high as texting, this comprehensive study reported by NBC News showed that eating while driving impaired drivers almost as much as texting did.
All it takes is a few seconds of not looking at the road to cause a serious accident.
New Jersey is one state working to criminalize eating while driving, just like talking or texting on the phone. While the law has not yet passed, other states could soon follow the trend and put a ban on eating and driving.
A New Understanding of Distracted Driving
For years, much of the focus associated with distracted driving accidents has been on texting and talking on a smartphone. That is why many states have initiated their full or partial bans on the use of cellphones while driving. State lawmakers hope that doing so will reduce the number of distracted driving accidents.
However, now it is known that eating and drinking are also serious hazards. There are no laws in place to ban eating or drinking while operating a motor vehicle, despite the evidence that there should be.
The state of Arizona recently started taking steps to ban texting and driving. However, they have not examined the issue of eating or drinking and driving. A Senate committee passed a ban on texting for teen drivers during their first six months of driving, but the panel rejected it and requested a stricter ban, says AZ Central.
Compared to other states, Arizona has one of the more relaxed laws about texting while driving. Also, Arizona is one of the few to lack distracted driving laws.
However, just because a person is distracted and not cited by law enforcement does not mean they are innocent of the accidents they cause.
Top Reasons Eating and Drinking Are Dangerous While Driving
- A driver cannot keep both hands on the wheel; therefore, they may try to steer with their legs.
- The driver’s eyes may divert from the road to the food.
- A driver will not notice changes in the conditions or signs on the road because they are focused on eating.
- A driver’s reaction time may be slowed while drinking or eating food, which may increase the chances of an accident.
Can a Person be Sued for Causing an Accident While Eating?
For a simple answer: yes, they can.
A driver who is distracted, regardless of what is distracting them, is being negligent. Therefore, if their negligence causes a motor vehicle accident, that driver is responsible for all damages they cause.
It is best, however, that an injured party meets with a personal injury lawyer in Gilbert first to have their case assessed.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer in Gilbert, Arizona Can Help Accident Victims
After an accident involving a driver who was distracted while operating a vehicle, victims have the right to hold that driver accountable for their reckless actions.
The accident attorneys at Tobler Law can help.
We advocate for victims of accidents and ensure that those who cause the accidents know they cannot get away with such negligent behavior. Arizona roads must be protected, and those who choose to drive while distracted are just as negligent as a person who wants to drink and drive.
After a distracted driving accidents, victims may be entitled to numerous forms of compensation, including:
- Medical Costs: This includes medical expenses already paid for by the victim or their insurance company, and the estimated future medical expenses that the victim will require as they recover from their injury.
- Lost Wages: Often victims take time off work or can no longer work after their accident. An attorney helps identify what wages were lost and helps victims receive full compensation for lost salaries.
- Property Damage: From personal property inside the vehicle to the vehicle’s damage itself, a victim does not have to pay for the property damage caused by a reckless driver.
Meet with a Personal Injury Lawyer in Gilbert, Arizona from Tobler Law Today
For those injured in an accident, even if someone eating and driving did not cause the accident, victims can reach out to the advocates at Tobler Law.
Schedule a consultation 24 hours a day at 480-898-9700 or request more information online.