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Motor Vehicle Accidents

Understanding Distracted Driving

August 17, 2020

In recent years, the public has become increasingly aware of the dangers posed by distracted driving. While this is due mainly to cell phone use while driving, the reality is that there are many ways that a driver can be distracted. Operating a motor vehicle requires the driver to pay full time and attention, and if they cause an accident while distracted, they may be held liable for the injuries they have caused. If you’ve been injured in an accident that you believe was caused by distracted driving, an experienced Billings car accident attorney can help you pursue a claim against the driver. 

Different Ways to Be Distracted

There are three main types of distractions that can result in an accident:

  1. Visual distractions, where the driver takes their eyes off of the road.
  2. Manual distractions, where the driver takes one or both hands off the wheel thus making it physically difficult to control the vehicle. 
  3. Cognitive distractions, such as daydreaming, talking to passengers, or anything else that keeps the driver from giving their full attention to operating the vehicle. 

The reason why phone use while driving is so dangerous is that it often involves all three distractions – texting, for example, takes the driver’s eyes and mind off the road and their hands off the wheel. That said, there are many other common distractions that can result in an accident: 

  • Eating while driving
  • Adjusting the radio
  • Dealing with pets or children
  • Talking to passengers
  • Looking at the surrounding scenery rather than watching the road

Even a momentary distraction means a delayed reaction which can quickly result in an accident. 

Proving That the Driver Was Distracted

Distracted driving can be difficult to prove unless the driver admits that they were texting and driving or engaged in some other distraction. Here is how a Billings car accident attorney can help you prove that the driver was distracted:

  • Subpoena the driver’s cell phone records. Your attorney may be able to issue a subpoena ordering the driver’s phone carrier to turn over their cell phone records. These records could demonstrate that the driver was texting or otherwise using their phone in the moments preceding the accident. 
  • Obtain statements from witnesses. Your attorney can interview the witnesses and obtain statements regarding what they saw leading up to the accident, specifically whether the driver was watching the road and had both hands on the wheel. 
  • Access traffic camera footage. Traffic cameras may show the driver’s behavior leading up to the accident. Your attorney can subpoena the footage. 
  • Obtain the police report. The police report may contain statements from the driver admitting that they were driving while distracted.  

Ultimately, you may need to rely on circumstantial evidence to prove that the driver was distracted. An experienced Billings car accident attorney will know how to do this. 

Contact Billings Car Accident Attorney Jim Ragain Today

The fact of the matter is that distracted driving is negligent driving, and the driver should be held accountable for your injuries. With decades of experience, Billings car accident attorney Jim Ragain can help you get the compensation you need to get back on your feet. Call us at 406-651-8888 or visit us online to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you with your case.


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