A fatal car accident in Arkansas, involving a Little Rock resident, is being investigated after leaving one person dead and a teenager seriously injured. The accident involved an 18-wheeler but, according to an accident reconstructionist, the driver of the other vehicle involved may have been at fault. Eyewitnesses suggest that the accident may have been the result of distracted driving. As any car accident lawyer understands, distracted driving represents a huge danger to all drivers on the roadway.
The facts surrounding the fatal car accident in Arkansas
On October 2, 2017, a Toyota Corolla driven by a resident of Little Rock crossed the median on Highway 65 in Harrison. The vehicle collided head-on with an 18-wheeler that was traveling in the opposite direction. The accident resulted in the instantaneous death of the driver of the Corolla. His 15-year-old passenger was seriously injured.
According to reports, the man was transporting the juvenile to a correctional facility in another state, using his personal vehicle. Although the vehicle was equipped with a dashcam, investigators determined that the dashcam was not recording at the time of the accident. According to the juvenile passenger, the driver of the car was using his cell phone at some time prior to the crash. As such, investigators are considering that the accident may have been the result of distracted driving.
Why texting and driving is so dangerous
According to Distraction.gov, the federal government website dedicated to distracted driving reports that when a driver is texting, their eyes are off the road for, at a minimum, five seconds. So much can happen in those five seconds and oftentimes does. Consequently, each state has enacted its own laws, either limiting or prohibiting cell phone use while on the road. If you have questions about the laws car in your state, contact an accident lawyer.
What is “distracted driving?”
The legal definition of “distracted driving” is “[a]ny activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving.” There are actually three categories of activities that result in distracted driving: visual, manual and cognitive. Visual distractions occur when you take your eyes off the road, whereas manual distractions result when you take your hands off the wheel. Cognitive distractions are probably the hardest to avoid. As humans, distractions are inevitable and cannot be avoided altogether. But, eating while driving, results in all three categories of distracted driving; visual, manual and cognitive.
How big of a problem is distracted driving?
According to statistics published by the federal government, 3,154 people were killed, and more than 400,000 injured, in 2013 in car accidents involving distracted drivers. Twenty-year-olds have the largest proportion of drivers who are reportedly distracted, 10% of whom are involved in fatal crashes with a distracted driver. An experienced car accident lawyer can explain the dangers in more detail.
Arkansas Cell phone laws
Many state laws regarding cell phone use by drivers are based on the age of the driver. In Arkansas, drivers age 18-20 are prohibited from using a hand-held cell phone while driving. Drivers under age 18 are prohibited from using any type of cell phone while driving, even so-called hands-free. All drivers in Arkansas are banned from texting while driving.
Hands-free technology may not be the answer
The jury is still out on whether hands-free technology is really any safer. An interesting study conducted by researchers at the University of Utah determined that cell phone use, in general, can result in impairment on a level similar to intoxication. In fact, researchers determined that in some ways talking on a cell phone while driving is as dangerous as driving drunk.
Recovering for your injuries
If you have been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be able to recover damages for those injuries. If you can prove that the driver was negligent or distracted at the time the accident occurred, you will likely have a good case. If you noticed that the driver was eating or engaging in any other distracted driving behavior, such as texting, talking on the phone, applying makeup, etc., those particular details are extremely important and should be disclosed to your car accident lawyer.
If you have questions regarding car accidents or any other personal injury matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (888) 433-4861.