How to Prove Cell Phone Use While Driving or Distracted Driving in Bakersfield or Anywhere for That Matter
When you’re in a car accident, even if it’s not your fault, it can make your life miserable. Time spent with doctor visits for injuries and car repair issues adds up. You may suspect that the other driver was distracted, but you’re not sure how to prove it. Cell phone use while driving gets a lot of well-deserved attention. But distracted driving covers a lot of territory – eating, looking for things in the back seat, applying make-up or shaving while driving are just a few things that take attention away from the road.
Here’s how a personal injury attorney can help you prove that the other driver was distracted and caused the accident:
- Incriminating statements – After the crash, the other driver apologized to you about being distracted, not seeing you, or doing something else instead of focusing on the road.
- Witness testimony – People who stop to help saw what happened, even if you didn’t see it. Ask for contact information from those who may be willing to provide an eyewitness statement.
- Police report – If the police come to the accident, detail everything that you saw for the report. Did you notice the other driver on the phone or engaging in other distractions just before the accident happened?
- Photo or video evidence – Red light cameras are recent additions around town. An attorney may be able to get access to photos or other private surveillance video to prove your case.
- Cell phone records – It’s often possible to get records that show how time of text corresponds to time of the accident.
Beware of hands-free distractions
Even fully-legal hands-free devices create distractions. AAA (the American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety*) completed a study and found out that potentially unsafe mental distractions can last up to 27 seconds after dialing, changing music, or sending a text using voice commands. The lingering distraction has to do with the mind ‘shifting gears’ from one task to the next. The danger isn’t just from smart phones. Many new model cars have voice-activated technologies that appear to resolve the hands-free requirement. However, such systems often create a false sense of security. Different voice-activated systems’ performance range from less to more complex, creating their own issues for distraction.
The point is to be very aware of road conditions and other drivers. You will never prove another driver’s distracted thoughts or cell phone use while driving caused an accident. But you can be sure that your focus stays on the road. And know that you have options if you’re the victim of a car accident.
*AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, October 2015