Nashville Distracted Driving FAQ
Distracted driving is a serious public health issue, injuring thousands of people every year. While distracted driving has been an issue since the advent of the automobile, the popularity and proliferation of smartphones and other devices has made the problem much worse over the past few years. Distracted drivers put everyone on the road at risk and often end up severely injuring other people who just happen to be in the wrong place and the wrong time. Fortunately, in many cases, victims can recover compensation for their accident-related damages.
At Labrum Law, we regularly work with people that have been injured by distracted drivers. In the material below, we've answered some of the questions we hear from victims when they first come to see us. For more information or to discuss the specifics of your case with a distracted driving attorney in Nashville, call our office today.
Is Distracted Driving a Big Problem in Tennessee?
Many people might glance at a text or email and think it is not a serious problem since their eyes were back on the road in a matter of seconds. However, a lot can happen when you take your eyes off the road for only a short time. Consider the following statistics for the State of Tennessee and the Nashville area:
- Last year, there were 23,758 accidents reported that involved a distracted driver
- Davidson County had the most distracted driving crashes with 2,212
- Hamilton County had the second-highest number with 1,362 accidents
- An average of six distracted driving accidents happened in the Nashville area each day
While you might not think a distracted driving crash will happen to you, these numbers show that this is a serious problem on the roads in Nashville and throughout Tennessee.
Common Types of Distractions
When many people think about distracted driving, they think about someone who is texting or checking email behind the wheel. It is certainly true that smartphones and other electronic devices are a genuine and concerning source of distraction, anything that competes for driver's attention can result in distracted driving. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention divides driver distractions into three categories:
- Visual - looking away from the road
- Manual - removing your hands from the wheel
- Cognitive - thinking about something other than driving
With these three categories in mind, it's easy to see how distracted driving involves much more than glancing at your cell phone. Some other examples of common driver distractions include:
- Talking to passengers or on the phone
- Looking at scenery
- Applying makeup or grooming
- Attending to children or pets
- Looking for things in the vehicle
- Changing the radio station
- Using a GPS device
- Adjusting the climate control system
- Engaging with an infotainment device
- Looking in the mirror
Any of these distractions can take your eyes, hands, or mind off of the road. Importantly, activities that involve all three categories of distraction, like texting, are particularly dangerous.
What are the Distracted Driving Laws in Tennessee?
Tennessee has some of the strictest distracted driving laws in the United States. Public Chapter (PC) No. 412 went into effect July 2019, and the law prohibits reading or writing text-based communications, taking or watching video with a handheld device, reaching for a handheld device, or holding a mobile device with any part of the body.
The law applies to drivers of all ages, and the penalties for violating the law include:
- $50 for a first-time violation
- $100 for three or more offenses or if the violation resulted in a crash
- $200 for violations in a marked and flashing school zone or a construction zone with workers present
Despite these laws, many drivers still continue to use their smartphones or engage in other distractions.
How Do You Prove a Driver was Distracted?
After an accident involving a distracted driver, you may be wondering how you are going to prove that he or she was distracted and that that distraction led to your accident. After all, very few drivers are going to own up to looking at their phone or daydreaming in the moments before your accident happened.
The good news is that you likely do not have to prove that the other driver was distracted. Under Tennessee law, people who are injured by negligent drivers are entitled to compensation for their losses. While distracted driving is itself negligent, distractions typically cause drivers to do things that are illegal or otherwise negligent as well.
For example, if a distracted driver is looking down at his or her phone and runs a red light and slams into your car, you do not need to prove that he or she was distracted; you only need to prove that the light was red and that the other driver ran it. The same is true for distracted drivers who cause accidents when they speed, weave in and out of lanes, slam into the back of other cars, or make illegal turns
What Should You Do after a Distracted Driving Crash?
While you might not know right after an accident whether the driver was distracted, you might have a feeling that the crash was their fault. It is important to begin protecting your rights and interests right away to ensure you receive compensation from the liable driver.
Some steps to take following a crash include:
- Calling 911 and giving police officers your version of events
- Getting information from all drivers involved and witnesses at the scene
- Getting medical treatment right away if you believe you might be injured
- Following all treatment recommendations
- Consulting with a car accident lawyer who can assess your rights
While you focus on your physical recovery, let a qualified attorney focus on your financial recovery.
Call Labrum Law Today for a Free Consultation with a Nashville Distracted Driving Lawyer
If you have been injured by a distracted driver, you should speak to an attorney as soon as you can. At Labrum Law, we are dedicated to holding distracted and otherwise negligent drivers accountable for the injuries they cause and know how to get our clients the settlements or judgments they deserve. To schedule your free case evaluation with a car accident attorney in Nashville, call our office today at (615) 338-9500 or contact us online.