With the rise of smartphones, multitasking took on a whole new meaning. Suddenly drivers began using their commutes as time for texting, emailing, and scrolling through social media. Today, distracted driving from cell phone use and other reasons kills thousands of people every year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of 660,000 drivers are operating their cell phones while driving every day during daylight hours.
With this many distracted drivers on the road, accidents are inevitable. If you get into a car crash with a distracted driver in San Bernardino, come to Estey & Bomberger, LLP for legal assistance.
Fighting Distracted Driving in San Bernardino County
Distracted driving is such a plague in the area that the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department launched a campaign against it. California laws prohibit all drivers from using handheld phones while driving, and drivers under the age of 18 from using hands-free devices. The Sheriff’s Department is cracking down on these laws and handing out minimum fines of $162 for non-compliance – and even higher fines for second violations. Drivers distracted by food or drink, passengers, GPS systems, or other reasons may also receive tickets for reckless driving.
During the month of April 2017, San Bernardino County’s efforts resulted in 35 traffic stops for distracted driving, 14 vehicle impounds, 13 arrests for driving without a valid license, and 28 additional citations. The goal of the revamped efforts is to spread awareness about the dangers of distracted driving, and to encourage drivers to voluntarily comply with the state’s laws. The campaign, funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety, showed the serious problem San Bernardino residents have with cell phone use and other distractions behind the wheel.
Proving Negligence in a Distracted Driving Case
If an accident occurs because of a distracted driver, injured parties can take their cases to court on the grounds of negligence. To prove negligence, one must first show that the driver owed a duty of care. All drivers owe duties of care to others on the roadway to obey the rules, pay attention to the road, and drive with care. Second, the plaintiff must have evidence that the driver breached his or her duties of care. Texting and driving or otherwise driving distractedly is a breach of duty. Proving this may require interviewing witnesses, checking surveillance footage, or getting copies of the driver’s cell phone records.
Third, the inured party must show that the driver’s breach of care caused the accident. Since the dangers of driving while distracted are obvious and well documented, this element is typically easy to prove once there is evidence of the driver’s distraction. Unless some other factor, like a defective vehicle part, caused the crash, showing the driver’s distraction is typically enough to prove liability. Finally, the plaintiff must have suffered real damages in the accident. These include physical injuries, medical bills, and property damage.
Get Help with Your Distracted Driving Accident Claim Today
If you have reason to suspect that another driver caused your accident because of a distraction, don’t hesitate to speak to the accident attorneys at Estey & Bomberger, LLP in San Bernardino. We offer free consultations so you can discuss your potential case with a lawyer at no cost or obligation. It’s our goal to put an end to distracted driving in San Bernardino and fight for just compensation for injured parties, one accident at a time. Call (909) 882-2016 today!