The Dangers of Distracted Driving
Accidents can happen in an instant. In the short time it takes a driver to check a notification on their phone or adjust the radio station, lives can be shattered, serious injuries can be sustained, and fatalities can occur.
Distracted driving is a serious, Canada-wide problem. In certain regions, distracted driving is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
According to Canada’s National Security Council, 26% of the country’s car accidents involve a cell phone distraction. This statistic includes the in-car use of cell phones operating through hands-free settings. In these situations, voice controls or verbal conversations caused enough of a distraction to cause a collision.
Transport Canada defines distracted driving as any instance in which a driver’s attention was taken away from the task of driving because they were focused on something else. That means that, even though in-car cell-phone use is a leading cause of collisions, any non-driving entity, object, or person that steals a driver’s focus from the road can cause a distracted driving accident.
Eating while the vehicle is in motion, speaking to passengers in the car, checking a GPS system, and other distractions from the road can cause devastating, fatal accidents. In Nova Scotia, driver distraction is estimated to be a contributing factor in 8 out of every 10 collisions reported to the police. Across Canada, distracted driving is the cause of 21% of the country’s fatal collisions.
If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, or if the negligent behaviour of another driver caused you to lose a loved one in a collision, a Nova Scotia car accident lawyer may be able to help you pursue financial compensation.
Teenagers May Be More Susceptible to Distractions Behind the Wheel
Recently licensed, newly independent young drivers do not have as much experience behind the wheel as more seasoned motorists. That being the case, teenage drivers may not realize how much focus and attention is required at all times in order to safely operate a vehicle.
In Nova Scotia, car accidents are the leading cause of death for the province’s youth. A combination of inexperience and riskier behaviours on the roads make teenagers particularly susceptible to collisions that may result in injuries or deaths.
Although new drivers in Nova Scotia are required to pass written and in-car examinations in order to progress through the Graduated Driver Licensing program, passing these tests is no indication of a young driver’s maturity, or their future driving habits. Teenagers may be more tempted to look down at their phones or use handheld electronic devices while driving than older, more experienced drivers. Furthermore, their focus can easily be stolen by boisterous friends in the vehicle, a preoccupation with music on the radio, or any number of other momentary distractions.
Across the country, this demographic continues to be the one at greatest risk of serious injuries or death as the result of a car accident. According to Transport Canada, young drivers account for 25% of the country’s injuries and deaths on the road.
Common Injuries From Distracted Driving Accidents
Accidents caused by distracted driving can have fatal consequences. They can also result in severe, even catastrophic injuries. Some common injuries resulting from car accidents include:
- Soft tissue injuries
- Broken and fractured bones
- Internal organ damage
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injuries
- And more
A driver’s decision to glance at a phone notification, or take their eyes off the road for even a split second, may put another road-user in the hospital for a prolonged period of recovery. Doing so might also cause them physical and psychological harm that lasts a lifetime.
In addition to the physical and emotional difficulties a permanently injured victim of distracted driving may endure, expensive costs of medical treatment and rehabilitation combined with an inability to return to the workforce could result in a lifetime of financial instability, both for the victim and their family members.
An accident victim’s life, and the lives of their loved ones, could be forever altered, all because another driver felt the need to check their phone while driving.
Pursuing Damages for Injuries Sustained in Motor Vehicle Accidents
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, it can be difficult to know what actions to take next, or where to turn for accountability.
Injured Nova Scotians may be able to pursue claims for costs and expenses associated with treatment, rehabilitation, and occupational retraining, as well as limited wage replacement benefits stemming from their injuries through no-fault Section B accident benefits. These accident benefits for eligible treatment and related rehabilitation expenses typically cover the costs up to a maximum of $50,000 for four years following your accident.
According to the province’s Insurance Act, all motor vehicle operators on Nova Scotia’s roads have a legal obligation to provide a reasonable duty of care to other road-users. This means, all drivers must practice safe driving habits and reasonable caution on the road at all times. A failure to do so by violating traffic laws, including driving distractedly, represents driver negligence.
If your collision was caused by another driver’s negligence, a Nova Scotia car accident lawyer may be able to help you recover both economic and non-economic damages for losses you incurred as a result of your injuries.
Economic damages refer to the quantifiable costs an accident victim may be forced to pay as a result of their injuries. If these damages exceed the amount of Section B benefits available to them, a lawyer may be able to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver to recover outstanding costs. Some examples of economic damages may include:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Ongoing medical care/in-home care
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Adjusted living expenses
- And possibly more
Non-economic damages may be more difficult to quantify or calculate than economic damages, but often the emotional cost of these damages can have an even greater impact on an accident victim’s quality of life than the monetary losses they’ve incurred.
When distracted driving leads to catastrophic, permanent injuries, accident victims may suffer, emotional repercussions. In coping with these physical injuries, accident victims often develop additional disabilities, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and others. In these cases, a Nova Scotia lawyer may be able to help catastrophically injured accident survivors pursue non-economic damages. Examples of these damages might include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- And possibly more
Contact Preszler Injury Lawyers if You’ve Been Injured by a Distracted Driver
If you were injured in a motor vehicle collision caused by a distracted driver’s negligence, you may be eligible to recover financial compensation for damages you incurred. To discuss the circumstances of the accident and learn if you’re eligible to pursue damages, contact us today.