Texting and Driving Can Cause Serious Injuries

Although they are two activities that should never happen at the same time, statistics indicate that texting and driving are common on U.S. roads. At any given time of the day, about 660,000 drivers are attempting to text while driving.

Needless to say, these activities never correspond successfully for long. As the following numbers show, texting and driving can have serious repercussions for the at-fault driver and other road users. 

  • Across the nation, 80% of accidents happen due to distracted driving, with 25% accounting for all traffic deaths.
  • A driver using a hand-held device has more chances of having an accident (23 times more).
  • It only takes three seconds for a distracted driver to end up crashing into another vehicle. 
  • Using cell phones while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes every year.
  • Texting and driving causes accidents resulting in nearly 390,000 injuries each year.
  • One out of every four accidents in the United States happens because someone was texting and driving.
  • Texting while driving is the most dangerous activity of all cell phone-related tasks.

With these frightening numbers, you would expect that people would refrain from texting and driving. But, unfortunately, people still text while driving and put themselves and others in harm's way.

If you have sustained severe injuries from an accident that happened because the driver was texting and driving, please reach out to the Fletcher Law Office. We will be glad to provide you with legal help regarding your case.

Distracted driving: What is it?

Simply put, distracted driving is when a driver is not paying full attention to the road, and it happens in three significant ways.

  • Visual distractions that take a driver's eyes off the road, such as looking at a GPS, checking your hair in the rearview mirror, looking at kids in the backseat, or glancing at your phone.
  • Manual distractions cause a driver to take their hands off the wheel for a few seconds, such as eating, smoking, or reaching for an object. 
  • Cognitive distractions that take a driver's mind off the road, such as having a conversation with a passenger, going over your shopping list in your head, or daydreaming.

Driving with even one of the above distractions can prove deadly for a person driving a vehicle. However, texting and driving takes the cap because it requires that a driver be distracted in all three ways - visually, manually, and cognitively. 

Why is texting and driving especially dangerous?

Trends have shown that texting while driving, even for brief periods, can disorient a driver. Whenever a person takes eyes off the road, they have to re-orient themselves as things will have changed on the road for those few seconds.

Driving in itself requires that a person's full faculties be present. They must be visually, manually, and cognitively present. While behind the wheel, a driver constantly processes information and readies themselves to react if situations warrant so. Typically, these situational changes happen so fast - in nanoseconds - that if the driver's full attention were not on the road, they wouldn't have enough time to react. 

Kansas laws on distracted driving and texting while driving

The figures on distracted driving accidents in Kansas bring the effects of driving distractedly closer to home.

  • From 2012 to 2017, distracted driving accidents in Kansas caused 1,506 injuries and 34 deaths.
  • There is an average of 2,223 distracted driving car crashes in this state per year; of these:
    • 26% are due to cell phone use
    • 9% are due to the use of other electronic devices (GPS, stereo, DVD player, etc.)
    • 65% are due to other distractions (applying makeup, reading newspapers, eating, tending to children, etc.)
  • Distracted driving accidents in Kansas caused $774,543,350 in damages in 2017 alone.
  • Drivers under the age of 25 are responsible for 18% of all distracted driving accidents in this state. 

With the different statistics implicating distracted driving in accidents, you would expect it to be illegal to drive distractedly. Funnily, this is not the case. In Kansas, some forms of distracted driving, but not all, are prohibited. 

The position of Kansas laws on distracted driving is clear. It is illegal for all Kansas drivers to text from any wireless communication device while driving on a public road or highway. This ban applies even if the car is stopped in traffic or at a light or stop sign. 

An adult driver may talk on a cell phone or other hand-held device while driving. However, a young driver cannot use any device for any reason. They are also subject to some other specific laws targeted at preventing distractions while driving.

The laws are:

  • Teen drivers (between the ages of 14 and 17) carrying an Instruction Permit and those with a Restricted License or Farm Permit cannot use a wireless communication except to report illegal activity or call for emergency help.
  • A driver under the age of 16 carrying a Restricted License or Farm License cannot have a non-sibling passenger under 18 in the car.
  • A driver between the ages of 16 and 18 cannot have more than one non-immediate family passenger under 18 in the car.

Consequences of texting and driving

Distracted driving laws can be enforced in either one of two ways: primary enforcement and secondary enforcement.

Primary enforcement of distracted driving laws means that the police can pull you over if you violate state distracted driving laws. Secondary enforcement means that the police can cite you for breaking driving laws only if you commit a moving violation in addition.

In Kansas, distracted driving laws are enforced using primary enforcement. What this means for you as a driver is that even if you did not commit any moving violations while at the wheel, you can be pulled over and given a citation if you are caught texting and driving.

Texting and driving attracts a fine of $60 each time. However, the penalty is usually accompanied by court costs and fees, so you may end up spending quite a bit more than that. 

Aside from the financial inconvenience of getting ticketed for texting and driving, a distracted driver runs the genuine danger of causing harm to themselves and other road users.

If you or your loved one was injured in an accident that happened due to texting and driving, you are entitled to compensation. Every driver has a duty of care to other road users to drive reasonably safely on the road.

By texting and driving, the at-fault driver has breached that duty of care and can be held liable for their negligence. You can demand compensation for your injuries from the negligent driver and their insurance provider.

Injuries sustained from this type of accident are typically severe, as the driver's distraction keeps them from exercising the necessary caution while driving. You have already suffered severe injuries from the driver's negligence. You should not have to pay for taking care of yourself out-of-pocket. 

You can demand compensation for your medical bills, any property damage you suffered, and any income you lost because you could not work due to your injuries. In addition to these economic compensations, you should also demand compensation for your pain and suffering. 

We can help you with your case

At Fletcher Law Office, we provide personal injury victims with access to an aggressive, talented, and compassionate legal team. Our proven track record of success in personal injury cases has made our legal team the go-to pick for Kansas City residents who have been injured. 

We have successfully resolved hundreds of personal injury cases, and in doing so, we have developed a proven method for swiftly resolving your personal injury case while maximizing your recovery. Reach out to us today to schedule a free initial consultation.

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