One can hardly go from intersection to intersection without seeing a number of surrounding drivers looking down at their mobile phones instead of keeping their eyes on the road. People today are virtually tethered to their phones, relying on the devices to control so many aspects of their lives that they find putting the phones down difficult no matter where they are. This physical connection and mental reliance on handheld electronics make it almost impossible to resist the temptation to look at a phone screen even while on the interstate and traveling at highway speeds to check a map, read and send texts, and take calls.
As Virginia Beach-based personal injury attorneys, my colleagues and I are always looking at evidence of the other driver having been distracted by a mobile phone. Recently, we’ve learned that even hands-free phone calls significantly increase drivers’ distractions and create heightened risks for wrecks.
New cases of distracted drivers inflicting serious injuries and deaths come to our attention almost every day. Just a few recent and egregious one include the following:
- A Gaston County, North Carolina (NC), pickup trucker who caused a fatal rear-end collision when he failed to spot slowing traffic
- An Anderson County, South Carolina (SC), teen whose speed and distraction while rounding a dangerous curve led to multiple deaths and injuries for his passengers
- A Medway, Maine (ME), rollover accident in which the driver’s distraction by a cellphone resulted in her and her passenger’s deaths
- A Norfolk Virginia (VA), driver who badly injured a pedestrian near Old Dominion University and then drove off, only being brought to account when an alert car mechanic connected her vehicle’s damage to the widely witnessed and reported crash
Drivers must turn off and put away their phones as soon as they hit the road. Ignoring a call or text gets no easier in a car. Ensuring no ringtone or buzz ever triggers the automatic response is the best practice.