Imagine this scenario. You are driving to work in the morning and approach an intersection where you have a green light. As you move through it, another car smashes into your vehicle.
The other driver may have been looking at the road with their hands on the wheel at the time, but they still could have been distracted when they hit you. This can happen when drivers use hands-free technology behind the wheel.
Hands-free is not distraction-free
Cars and apps allow drivers to make calls, send messages and perform other functions, all without picking up a phone. This hands-free technology is supposed to make it easier and presumably safer for someone to use the phone without picking it up.
However, recent studies suggest that hands-free technology is just as dangerous as using a handheld phone while driving.
People may not realize that making calls, dictating a text or scrolling through a list of podcasts on the in-car infotainment system are all distracting behaviors. They divide a person’s attention or take it away from the task of driving altogether.
In other words, a person may have their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road, but they may not be taking in their surroundings because they are preoccupied with what they are trying to do on their hands-free device.
Investigating crashes caused by distraction
If another driver crashes into you, it may not be immediately apparent that they may have been distracted at the time. Thus, investigating the accident will be crucial.
Police, accident reconstructionists, insurance companies and attorneys can all play roles in this investigation. They can examine crash scenes, talk to witnesses and review cellphone and device records for activity. These pieces of information can help parties understand if a driver was distracted.
It may not be reasonable to expect drivers to avoid every distraction behind the wheel. However, motorists have a duty not to engage in those that are unlawful and unsafe, such as using a phone while driving. When drivers fail in this duty, parties injured by this negligence have the right to hold them accountable for damages and losses.