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Green Bay distracted driving accident lawyerCar crashes caused by distracted driving are incredibly common, with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation reporting that one in five accidents involve distracted driving in some form. Texting while driving gets much of the attention in distracted driving prevention and safety campaigns, but this focus on cell phone use may mask the prevalence of other causes of distracted driving that can be equally dangerous. If you are injured as a result of another driver’s distraction due to any of these behaviors, you may be entitled to compensation.

Frequent Driver Distractions

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) publishes frequent reports on driving safety and the factors involved in traffic accidents. A recent report published in 2020 focuses on the effects of distracted driving in fatal crashes. The report defines distraction as a situation in which “drivers divert their attention from the driving task to focus on some other activity instead.” While the NHTSA’s data analysis found that cell phone use was a common cause of distraction, especially among drivers below the age of 40, more than 80 percent of driver distractions came from some other source, even in the younger age groups. Common examples include:

  • Other vehicle occupants. This includes when the driver is conversing with passengers or attending to children or pets in the back seat.
  • Adjusting vehicle controls. This includes radio controls, lights, heat and air conditioning, GPS systems, mirrors, windows, and more.
  • Objects inside the vehicle. Objects that move or shift in transit can be distracting, as can objects that a driver attempts to reach for.
  • Occurrences outside of the vehicle. Animals, car accidents, billboards, scenic views, and roadside attractions are all possible sources of distraction.
  • Eating and drinking. A driver’s hands and eyes may be occupied while eating or drinking non-alcoholic beverages behind the wheel.
  • Daydreaming. Sometimes, distraction occurs simply because the driver’s thoughts are elsewhere.

Evidence of Distracted Driving

When you have been injured by a distracted driver, it is important to work with an attorney as soon as possible to look for evidence that may point to the driver’s distraction or other negligent behavior. In some cases, the driver’s own admission of their distraction can help your case, especially if it is recorded in a police report or 911 call. However, you will often need to seek other evidence, including testimony from witnesses to the driver’s behavior, photographs of the vehicles and accident scene that show possible distractions, and any available camera footage that shows the circumstances leading to the collision. Your attorney will use all available evidence to build a strong case for your compensation.

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Green Bay, WI distracted driver liability attorneyDistracted driving poses a great threat to users of American roadways, especially with the prevalent use of cell phones and other mobile devices. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2018, distracted driving was involved in almost 3,000 fatalities throughout the United States, but due to the challenge of identifying distracted driving, the actual number could be significantly higher. In an effort to decrease the number of car accidents, injuries, and fatalities, Wisconsin has enacted a number of state laws aimed at deterring dangerous distracted driving behavior.

Wisconsin Distracted Driving Laws

The State of Wisconsin recognizes that distracted driving is not limited to cell phone use, but rather includes any behavior that can interfere with attentive driving, such as reading, eating, personal grooming, or interacting with a passenger. Specifically, Wisconsin law prohibits:

  • Any driver from engaging in an activity that detracts from the safe operation of a vehicle. This broad statement accounts for a variety of behaviors that a police officer may detect.
  • Any driver from typing or sending by hand a text message or e-mail, with few exceptions.
  • Any driver with a probationary license or learner’s permit from using a mobile phone in any way, except to report an emergency.
  • Any driver of a commercial motor vehicle from operating a mobile phone by hand.
  • Any driver from using a mobile phone in any way, except to report an emergency, in a construction or work zone.
  • Any driver from viewing video communication or entertainment on a mobile phone or another electronic device.

As recently as the fall of 2019, Wisconsin lawmakers have introduced legislation that would prohibit handheld mobile phone use for all drivers except for in an emergency, though no such law has yet been passed. It is also important to note that any form of distracted driving can be considered negligence because it endangers other drivers, and if a distracted driver causes an accident resulting in injuries or fatalities, the affected parties can pursue a personal injury claim against the negligent driver in civil court. In cases involving death, the distracted driver may also face charges of homicide by negligent use of a vehicle.

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Green Bay distracted driving accident attorneyDistracted driving is one of the biggest health and safety concerns that affects people throughout the United States. A person may commit distracted driving if they operate a motor vehicle while engaged in another activity. This could be as simple as adjusting a car radio, changing air conditioning settings, or eating or drinking while driving. However, the most common form of distracted driving is cell phone use. These distractions can result in dangerous car accidents, and if you or a loved one have been injured in a collision that was caused by distracted driving, you should speak with a skilled personal injury attorney as soon as possible. 

The Dangers of Distracted Driving 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are three types of distracted driving: visual, manual, and cognitive distractions. While taking one’s mind off of the road (cognitive distraction) or hands off the wheel (manual distraction) can be dangerous, the most lethal form of distracted driving is taking one’s eyes off of the road (visual distraction). Taking one’s eyes off the road for five seconds is long enough for a vehicle traveling at 55 miles per hour to cover the length of a whole football field. Distracted driving is the leading cause of rear-end collisions in the United States, and it can also lead to multiple other types of deadly accidents, including when a distracted driver drifts into another lane and causes a head-on collision. 

Pursuing Compensation From a Distracted Driver

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 400,000 Americans are injured each year in collisions caused by distracted driving. If you are involved in a motor vehicle collision, you should first seek out the necessary medical attention, and you should then contact a knowledgeable attorney. Your lawyer will go over the events that led to the accident and help you determine the cause of the collision. If distracted driving was the reason for the accident, your attorney can uncover evidence demonstrating fault, including video footage from nearby security cameras or witness testimony. Your attorney can also document the full extent of all injuries you have suffered and the costs of medical treatment, damages to your vehicle, loss of work hours, and the pain and suffering you have experienced. By providing an accurate and fair assessment of your damages, your lawyer can ensure that you receive the full compensation you deserve.

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Green Bay drunk driving accident injury lawyerOperating a motor vehicle requires a great deal of attention and focus, and drivers are tasked with protecting themselves and others from harm every time they get behind the wheel. Failure to take the proper care when driving can result in car accidents that may injure other drivers or pedestrians. Distracted driving is one of the most common forms of driver negligence that can lead to a collision, and those who have been injured by a driver who was not paying attention to the road should be sure to understand their legal options for recovering compensation for their damages.

Types of Driver Distractions 

Because driving is a commonplace activity for many people, it can be easy for a driver to take some of their attention off the road and focus on something else. However, while “multitasking”  is a skill that can be useful in many aspects of life, it should not be utilized when driving a vehicle. Distractions when behind the wheel can be very dangerous, and they can include one or more of the following:

  • Visual Distractions involving taking one’s eyes off of the road. Examples include talking, texting, playing games, or taking pictures on a cell phone, using a GPS navigation system, looking at passengers in the vehicle, focusing on changing settings on the car’s radio, or fixating on a sight outside the window. 
  • Manual Distractions refer to not having both hands on the wheel in a driving position. Cell phone or radio usage often involves this type of distraction, and smoking, drinking, eating, applying makeup, or any other manual activity can also result in a driver not being in full control of their vehicle.  
  • Cognitive distractions involve a driver not concentrating fully on the act of driving. Instead of focusing on the road, other vehicles, or following traffic laws, a driver may be paying attention to other thoughts or actions. Singing, focusing on a conversation or text message, or even reading a book or magazine could all be forms of cognitive distractions.

Cell phone usage is one of the leading causes of driver distractions. The use of a phone or a similar electronic device often involves all three categories of distraction. While there are laws in place to deter drivers from being distracted by phones or other devices, many people continue to take their attention off the road to make calls, send text messages, or perform other activities. It has been reported that in 2017, 3, 166 people were killed in traffic accidents caused by distracted driving. This number does not include hit-and-runs, accidents with inconclusive evidence, and unreported cases, so the actual number could be much higher. 

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Wisconsin distracted driving accident lawyersDistracted driving may not be a new issue, but its growth since the development of mobile devices has brought a new awareness to this deadly driving behavior. 

In fact, a recent analysis of 1.4 million copies of police records from Ohio State University determined that almost half of all crashes within the state involved a distracted driver. Although that analysis was conducted in another state, national statistics indicate that distracted driving deaths are a serious problem throughout the entire country. Wisconsin’s distracted driver death rate falls somewhere around 16 percent, according to the most recent data (2014). 

Some say the deaths and accidents are declining, thanks to all the law changes and public announcements, but many scientists disagree. In fact, they worry that the problem is only going to get worse. 

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